Many pelvic floor health issues result from normal biological changes brought on by the natural aging process or life events such as childbirth. More common than you might think, these conditions can be successfully treated—if not cured—with a wide variety of nonsurgical treatment options. When surgery offers the best option for optimal function and improved quality of life, our specialists at the Center for Pelvic Health use advanced and minimally invasive gynecological techniques to help you achieve superior outcomes with minimal pain, scarring and recovery time.
Our women's health experts provide a full and extensive range of treatment strategies to meet your needs and comfort level, including:
- Pelvic floor exercises (Kegel) help to strengthen the levator muscles, located on other side of the pelvis, that provide support for pelvic organs and bladder/anal control. A low-tech physical workout for your pelvic region, Kegels are often prescribed for certain types of urinary incontinence, sexual pain and rehabilitation after childbirth.
- Dietary and behavioral modifications are often the easiest self-help remedies to implement for improving such pelvic floor conditions as urinary incontinency and bowel problems. Understanding proper fluid intake and any dietary triggers, such as certain fruits or veggies, spicy food or caffeine can help to minimize bladder and bowel issues.
- Integrative approaches have been introduced in recent years as emerging therapies for pelvic floor disorders. For example, acupuncture and nerve stimulation therapy performed on the ankle region have become an effective and popular strategy for some women with bladder overactivity and bladder control problems. Mindfulness and sensory re-education techniques likewise have been shown to help reduce emotional stress and concern for many women with pelvic pain.
- Medication therapy applies to a number of pelvic floor conditions. They can range from over-the-counter drugs and prescription steroids to topical agents in the form of gels and lotions.
- Pelvic floor physical therapy is uniquely provided at NorthShore’s Center for Pelvic Health by specially trained dedicated physiotherapists. We also use advanced biofeedback training to provide positive feedback—in the form of visual or audio aids—to improve pelvic muscle strength, enhance bladder/bowel control and alleviate other pelvic symptoms.
- Hormone therapy taken in the form of pills or patches serves as a substitute for natural ovarian hormones. Hormone replacement therapy may be recommended, particularly after a hysterectomy, which may be a necessary treatment for some cases of pelvic prolapse, sexual pain, bleeding problems or large fibroids.
Advanced Surgical Procedures
- Prolapse repair performed via any one of the minimally invasive surgical techniques available at NorthShore—vaginal, laparoscopic, robotic-assisted, or mini-incision abdominal—works to strengthen the supports around the vagina, uterus, bladder and pelvic area.
- Urinary Incontinence Surgery has advanced into a 15-minute, outpatient surgery restoring bladder control in more than 90 percent of cases. Thousands of these procedures have been performed at our Center over the past 15 years. These days, nearly all women experiencing “stress” leakage during coughing, physical exertion or exercise, can find relief and often total elimination of these symptoms, and a vastly improved quality of life
- Vaginal reconstruction or rejuvenation therapy to tighten the vaginal area may be recommended for pelvic floor conditions such as vaginal laxity, labial discomfort or sexual dysfunction.
- Hysterectomy procedures at NorthShore can be performed vaginally, laparoscopically and robotically and tailored to your needs and comfort level.
- Myomectomy involves the removal of fibroids only, without removing the uterus and preserving fertility. This procedure can be done as an open surgical procedure or with minimally invasive techniques.
- Uterine preservation prolapse surgery focuses on uterus-sparing techniques to avoid a hysterectomy when possible. Vaginal procedures, innovated right here at the Center for Pelvic Health and requiring no abdominal incisions, continue to provide outstanding outcomes for women seeking to eliminate their prolapse symptoms while also preserving their uterus.
- Endoscopic (laparoscopic) surgery involves the use of pencil thin instruments and a tiny camera inserted through small incisions in the abdominal area for the treatment of a variety of pelvic conditions including hysterectomy and myomectomy. This outpatient procedure allows for faster recovery and improved patient well-being. Our surgeons have developed both vaginal and endoscopic surgical simulation training modules and presented these techniques at national meetings using the NorthShore Grainger Center for Simulation and Innovation.
- Cystoscopy is a diagnostic procedure for examining the interior of your bladder. It involves inserting a small telescopic camera through the urethra and into the bladder.