Seeking Medical Treatment

If you're one of the many women who experience incontinence, pelvic pain or other issues in your pelvic area, don't let embarrassment keep you from getting the help you need. If the problem is frequent or affects your quality of life, you can—and should—consider treatment. Common signs of treatable pelvic floor issues:

  • you are embarrassed by urine leakage
  • you avoid certain activities because of a fear of urine leakage
  • you often feel urgency to urinate
  • you have frequent bladder infections
  • you urinate much more frequently than you used to
  • you feel pain when you urinate
  • you often feel the need to urinate, but cannot pass urine
  • your urine stream seems to be getting weaker or your bladder doesn't seem to empty completely

Medical expertise

The Franciscan Continence and Pelvic Health Program has a commitment to providing the best care across the region. Our highly qualified teams of urogynecologists, advanced nurse practitioners and physical therapists specialize in treating pelvic floor disorders have access to, and confer with, other specialists including gastroenterologists, colorectal surgeons, and radiologists – all to provide you with an accurate diagnosis and treatment options.

The Franciscan Continence and Pelvic Health Program is available at Franciscan hospitals and clinics in Tacoma, Federal Way, Gig Harbor and the Peninsula, University Place and Lakewood.

OB/GYN - Who does what?

Pelvic floor disorders can be complex, involving different organs and parts of your body. Sometimes it takes the expertise of different specialists to provide the best possible treatment. If you have a pelvic floor disorder, you might be treated by these medical professionals:

Urogynecologists are gynecologists or obstetrician/gynecologists (Ob/Gyn), who specialize in the evaluation and treatment of urinary incontinence and conditions that affect the female pelvic floor. You can see or be referred to a urogynecologist when you have incontinence problems, prolapsed organs, or when your primary care doctor recommends a consultation. Find a Urogynecologist.

A urologist is a surgeon who specializes in the urinary conditions of men and women. Many urologists have advanced training in the surgical correction and medical treatments for incontinence; but not as many have experience with nonsurgical treatments such as Kegel (pelvic muscle) exercises, bladder training, biofeedback, electrical stimulation and the use of pelvic support devices or urethral inserts.

A gynecologist is a doctor specializing in the reproductive health of women. Some have special interest in the diagnosis and treatment of urinary incontinence and prolapse including surgery and well-woman care.

A geriatrician is a doctor who specializes in treating older people. Some geriatricians have advanced training in the treatment and management of incontinence.

A gastroenterologist is a doctor who specializes in problems of the intestinal system. If you have diarrhea, constipation, or bowel incontinence, you may be referred to a gastroenterologist.

Some nurse practitioners specialize in pelvic floor issues, and some psychologists and physical therapists have training that qualifies them to offer non-surgical treatments for incontinence.