Doctors termed urogynecologists, or urogyns, have special training in the diagnosis and treatment of females having pelvic floor disorders. Even as your primary care physician, OB/GYN, or urologist may studied these conditions, a urogyn offers greater expertise. Speak to your GP about a urogyn referral if you have prolapse issues or are experiencing urinary or fecal incontinence. As well, if you have trouble with bladder or bowel movement, or if you have bladder or pelvic pain, a urogyn can definitely help.
Defining a Urogynecologist
Urogynecologists finish medical school as well as an Obstetrics and Gynecology or Urology residency program. These physicians are specialists who had extensive training and experience in assessing and treating conditions involving the female pelvic organs, including the muscles and connective tissue within and around them. Urogynecologists usually complete formal fellowships (training that comes after residency) that dealing with the treatment of non-cancerous gynecologic issues surgically or non-surgically. Common problems handled by a urogynecologist include urinary leakage or incontinence, bladder overactivity and pelvic organ (vagina, uterus, etc.) prolapse.
Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery
In 2011, the American Board of Medical Specialties approved Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, or urogynecology, as a certified subspecialty, and certified the country’s pioneering urogyns two years later. As part of the requirements of maintaining their status as certified urogyns, these doctors take ongoing education courses to keep their knowledge current.
Board Certified Urogynecologist or Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgeon
When a doctor has board certification in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, that means he has passed the American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology (ABOG) and the American Board of Urology (ABU) examinations. Or it can also mean that the doctor has passed exams given by the American Osteopathic Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AOBOG) and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). Whichever applies in the situation, board certification is the only proof that a doctor is a tested and proven urogyn.
The first board certification exams by the ABOG/ABU were conducted in 2013. Doctors who finished their training after 2012 usually participated in an accredited fellowship as a requirement board exam eligibility. As stated earlier, the AOA/AOBOG conducted their first certification exams in urogynecology just a year prior to the first ABOG/ABU exams.
As always, feel free to inquire about the training and expertise of a urogynecologist before committing to them. Although you will find many equally credentialed urogynecologists these days, there will always remain a few nuances that you should find out before becoming their patient. Come up with a shortlist of prospects and dig up some information online about each of them. This can go a long way in finding someone who will not only be a competent urogynecologist but also a medical care provider in the truest sense of the term.