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Urogynecologists and How Do They Differ from Your OB-Gynecologists

Doctors referred to as urogynecologists, or urogyns, receive special training to diagnose and treat women dealing with pelvic floor disorders. While your primary care physician, OB/GYN, or urologist may be knowledgeable about such conditions, a urogyn provides more 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 are medical doctors who have completed residency program in Obstetrics and Gynecology or Urology. These physicians are specialists who had additional training and experience in diagnosing and treating conditions that involve organs in the female pelvic area, together with all the attached muscles and connective tissue. Many urogynecologists complete formal fellowships (more training following residency) that concentrate on treating non-cancerous gynecologic issues with or without surgery. Some of the usual problems a urogynecologist deals with are pelvic organ prolapse (for example, when the vagina or uterus drops), an overactive bladder, and urinary leakage.

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

A doctor who is board-certified in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery is someone who has passed examinations conducted by at least two medical boards, namely, the American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology (ABOG) and the American Board of Urology (ABU). Alternatively, the doctor may have passed exams conducted by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and the American Osteopathic Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AOBOG). Whatever the case, board certification is your only assurance that the physician is a tried and true urogynecology specialist.

The first board certification exams by the ABOG/ABU were conducted in 2013. Physicians who finished their training post-2012 likely completed an accredited fellowship that made them eligible for board certification. The first AOA/AOBOG board certification exam, as we have mentioned, was given just a year earlier than the ABOG/ABU exams.

As always, make it a point to ask regarding a urogynecologist’s training and expertise before you decide to put yourself in their care. 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. Create a shortlist of prospects and spend time doing some research. This can be helpful in finding a urogynecologist who is not just a technical expert but someone who is actually treat you as an individual rather than just a case.

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