Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

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More than half of all women will experience pelvic floor dysfunction in their lifetime. You don’t have to live with it. 

Pelvic floor dysfunction is caused by weak pelvic muscles or a tear in the connective tissues. Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause bladder control problems, bowel control problems, and pelvic organ prolapse. These conditions can be treated by a urogynecologist – a specialist in female pelvic medicine.

Caring For Your Pelvis, Your Core

When you take care of your pelvic floor, you take care of what fitness experts like to call your “core."  (Your core includes the muscles in your abdomen, lower back, hips, and pelvic floor.)  Most fitness programs focus on helping people strengthen their back and abdominal muscles, but the pelvic floor—the base of your core—is often ignored.

That’s unfortunate because pelvic floor dysfunctions are so common.  More than half of all women will experience pelvic floor issues in their lifetime.

That’s because pelvic floor muscles can become damaged or weakened by any number of things, including childbirth, menopause, disease, pelvic surgery, or repeated heavy lifting. Some women also experience pelvic floor dysfunction related to tobacco use and genetics.

The following problems can be caused by damage to your pelvic floor:

  • Urinary incontinence
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Overactive bladder (bladder pressure, urgency)
  • Uterine prolapse (dropped organ causing a bulge or pressure in the vaginal or rectal area)
  • Bladder prolapse
  • Pain in the lower back, pelvis, bladder or urethra
  • Fistulas (abnormal holes in the vaginal or rectal area)

These conditions are not a normal part of aging, and you don’t have to live with them. The specialists at Aurora BayCare’s Pelvic Floor Center focus on helping women overcome these conditions and improving their quality of life.

 

The Area’s Leading Provider

Dr. John Utrie has more than 20 years of experience treating pelvic dysfunction and offers the full spectrum of pelvic floor treatment options. Dr. Utrie is fellowship-trained and is the first urogynecologist practicing in Northeast Wisconsin.  He is also the region’s first physician to hold board-certification in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery.  

This level of experience makes a significant difference in patient care, especially when it’s combined with collaborative, multidisciplinary support from specialists in physical therapygastroenterologycolorectal surgery, and urology.   We offer our patients personal attention and access to an entire team of specialists.

All in all, this means you get more choices, more expert opinions, and better results. 

Transvaginal Mesh Complications

There are several surgical and non-surgical methods for addressing pelvic floor disorders.  One surgical method is known as transvaginal mesh implantation.  Unfortunately, this surgical option has been associated with frequent complications such as infection, pain, bleeding, urinary problems, or even mesh exposure through the vagina.

Experience is very important when treating pelvic floor issues.  If you’ve had disappointing surgery results in the past, it doesn’t mean the complications can’t be resolved.  It’s possible your doctor recommended the wrong procedure or didn’t have the right experience to ensure success. 

We recognize the problems that vaginal mesh has caused for many women, and we have a proven track record of treating these complications.  Come talk to us about your concern and find out what we can do to help. 

Personal Care and Open Dialogue

When you visit the Pelvic Floor Center at Aurora BayCare, you can count on receiving personal attention and individualized care.  We believe that open dialogue and patient education are important to any health care relationship, and we will strive to help you understand all of your treatment options.

Non-surgical treatment options include biofeedback, electrical stimulation, behavior modification therapy, dietary chances, and medication. Sometimes, however, urogynecologic surgery may be necessary to provide lasting relief from your symptoms. 

Pelvic surgery can help repair damaged muscles or tissue and restore normal pelvic floor anatomy. Many pelvic floor surgeries can be performed using minimally invasive procedures.

  • Vaginal surgery: This type of surgery uses small incisions in the vagina.  It is appropriate for patients who haven’t had surgery before and for those who have been disappointed by past surgery results.
  • Uterine sparing reconstruction: In the past, a hysterectomy was the standard procedure for uterine prolapse.  But in some cases, a prolapsed uterus can be moved back into place.  We will perform a careful assessment and then help you decide whether to have a hysterectomy or a uterine-sparring procedure. 
  • Sacral nerve stimulation: Similar to a heart pacemaker, sacral nerve stimulation delivers mild electrical pulses to stimulate the nerve that controls the bladder and surrounding muscles.
  • Sling procedures: Mainly used to treat stress incontinence, slings restore and support the correct anatomical positioning of pelvic organs.
  • Pessary care: Used to treat bladder prolapse and uterine prolapse, a pessary is a device that is inserted into the vagina to help support the pelvic organs. A pessary can serve as a temporary treatment option while you are considering surgery or it can be used as a long-term solution for patients who wish to avoid surgery.  
  • Urethral bulking injections: Used to treat urinary incontinence, this treatment involves injecting collagen or another synthetic material around the urethra, allowing it to close and seal more tightly to prevent urine from leaking.
  • Laparoscopic surgery: This type of minimally invasive surgery requires only small incisions in the abdomen through which a thin video camera and surgical instruments are inserted. The surgeon performs the procedure while viewing the surgical site on a video monitor.
  • Robotic surgery: This surgery combines laparoscopic techniques with robotic arms. Operating through small incisions, the surgeon’s hands are translated into smaller movements, allowing for delicate work in small spaces.

Listen as Dr. Utrie talks about what symptoms a woman with pelvic floor issues will experience and the urogynecology services available at Aurora BayCare: 

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