Female Pelvic Disorders

mother and daughter

Nearly one out of four women in the United States today suffers from a form of pelvic floor dysfunction. Resulting from weakened or injured muscles and connective tissue, these disorders may cause pain, limited movement, and disruptions in daily life. Department of Urology specialists in female pelvic medicine are highly experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of the wide spectrum of pelvic floor disorders, from overactive bladder and incontinence to pelvic organ prolapse and urethral diverticulum. Below are some of the common diagnoses seen in our clinic:

Pelvic organ prolapse

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) results from weakened muscles and ligaments in the pelvic cavity, which normally hold the pelvic organs in place. When one or more of these organs falls from its normal position, it pushes against the vagina, causing discomfort and often pain. Fortunately, several effective treatments are available to resolve this issue that involve either non-invasive procedures or minimally invasive surgery.

Vesicovaginal fistula, urethrovaginal fistula, ureterovaginal fistula, rectovaginal fistula

 A vaginal fistula involves an abnormal connection between the vagina and another organ nearby, such as the bladder, colon or rectum, causing urine or stool to pass through the vagina. Commonly found in those have recently had surgery or radiation, fistulas are not only painful, but can carry significant emotional distress along with physical discomfort. Surgical solutions to this disorder are available through a transvaginal approach, repairing and reconnecting the appropriate tissues and organs and restoring healthy function.


Incontinence, the accidental loss of urine, affects 13 million women today in the United States alone. While this problem is common, particularly as women age, treatment by a physician is sought in only 10 percent of cases. Many types and causes of incontinence exist, but fortunately there are many treatment options as well, catered to individual cases. Many women respond to behavioral and dietary changes, pelvic floor exercises, and in some cases, medication. For women with certain types of severe incontinence, the OHSU Urology Clinic offers minimally invasive surgical treatment to correct this issue.

Overactive bladder

Overactive Bladder (OAB) is a common syndrome characterized by the sudden, bothersome urge to urinate. OAB is often coupled with frequent urination, nocturia (night-time urination), and incontinence. Several treatments for OAB may be discussed  by you and your doctor that involve diet and behavioral changes, pelvic floor exercises, medication management, and in some cases, surgical correction.

Female sexual function

A startling forty percent of surveyed American women suffer from female sexual dysfunction. Female sexuality is a very complex issue, and while the majority of research on the topic focuses on psychological causes, there are a great number of physical factors and conditions that can cause difficulty for women of all ages.  Experienced in medical management and surgical correction of many sexual disorders, our providers know that these issues can be particularly sensitive and uncomfortable, and take a personalized treatment approach to each patient’s unique situation.

Urethral diverticulum

A urethral diverticulum is a small pouch that develops on the wall of the urethra, adversely affecting the urinary tract and causing infections, painful intercourse, dribbling, or vaginal discharge. In some cases, a urethral diverticulum is not symptomatic, but many cases require surgical correction. Fortunately, there are several procedural options for treatment involving transurethral incision of the diverticular neck, creation of a permanent opening between the diverticulum and the vagina, or excision.