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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. 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 are graduates of medical school and a residency 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. Urogynecologists generally go through formal fellowships (more training after residency) that deals with non-cancerous gynecologic issues, either through surgery or non-surgical treatment. 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

The American Board of Medical Specialties certified Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, otherwise called urogynecology, as a medical subspecialty in 2011; after two years, the first set of urogyns in the U. As a requirement for maintaining their certification, urogyns engage in ongoing education as a way to stay current in terms of their knowledge.

Board Certified Urogynecologist or Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgeon

If a physician claims he is board-certified in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, that means he has passed exams conducted by 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). In any case, board certification is your only assurance that the doctor is a tested expert in urogynecology.

The first board certification exams by the ABOG/ABU were conducted in 2013. Doctors who completed their training beyond 2012 must have gained their board certification eligibility through an accredited fellowship. As mentioned, the first urogynecology board exams were conducted by the AOA/AOBOG in 2012.

As always, make it a point to ask regarding a urogynecologist’s training and expertise before you decide to put yourself in their care. While there are many equally credentialed urogynecologists today, there will always be nuances among them that you should be familiar with as a potential patient. Come up with a shortlist of prospects and dig up some information online about each of them. 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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