Do you catch yourself saying, “I have to go right now?” Are you struggling to control your bladder?
Urine leakage or urinary incontinence (UI) is a common condition that many women and some men encounter. While prevalent, it is not normal at any age and should be something you consult with your medical provider about.
With approximately 30-50% of women experiencing urinary incontinence at some point during their lifetime, it’s essential to know what it is and how to treat it.
Problems with bladder control are serious health issues, and they can affect the way you live your life.
Are you unsure whether or not you may be experiencing a loss of bladder control? Consider the questions below:
There are 7 different types of urinary incontinence that produce a range of symptoms.
The two most common types of urinary incontinence are stress incontinence and urge incontinence. Let’s discuss each in more detail and what makes them different from one another.
Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is caused by leakage of urine during physical activities. Once an increase in abdominal pressure occurs within the bladder, it quickly fills with liquid, causing stress on the bladder which leads to leakage.
Urge incontinence or overactive bladder (OAB) is characterized by the quick, sudden urge to urinate.
Having an overactive bladder means that the bladder no longer holds urine normally. This can make it difficult to reach the restroom in time.
OAB occurs when the bladder muscles send information to the brain notifying that it’s full even when it’s not. These signals make the bladder contract which causes leakage.
Learn more about the difference between these two common incontinence disorders.
The severity of urinary problems varies from person to person, and what is a minor inconvenience to one might be a serious issue to another. In severe cases, the impact on life means that a person may limit their social activities and no longer enjoy spending time outside of their home. If this is the case for you, we urge you to make an appointment with a Metro OBGYN provider ASAP.
Urinary incontinence is not a disease, it’s a symptom. This means it is caused by underlying medical conditions or physical problems.
There may also be certain foods or beverages that are encouraging UI issues such as diuretics which stimulate your bladder and increase the volume of urine produced.
It’s important to discuss the risk of having urinary incontinence. There are some factors that cause some women to experience UI more than others, including genetics, health conditions, and life events.
Genetics sometimes come into play if you are born with a weaker pelvic floor or certain health conditions. Those who have a familial link to urinary incontinence will be at greater risk for developing bladder control issues. According to a University of Gothenburg study, genetics can account for up to half of an individual’s risk of developing incontinence.
Certain health conditions can put you at higher risk for developing urinary incontinence.
If you are suffering from any of these health conditions and experiencing incontinence, talk to your provider about ways you can achieve relief.
Various life events can also increase your risk for developing UI.
Unfortunately, not all bladder control issues can be attributed to a specific cause. However, relief is often possible through treatment.
With a wide range of non-surgical and surgical procedures available, many women find relief from their UI symptoms through one or more of the options below.
Non-surgical treatments for UI include medication, lifestyle changes, behavioral changes, alternative options, and devices. We’ll outline each below:
Medicines can help control how the bladder functions. There are a wide variety of options available on the market.
It’s best to talk with your provider about whether or not certain medications are a good fit for you.
There are a few additional non-surgical treatment options to discuss with your provider if medication does not work.
Changing aspects of your lifestyle may help reduce your symptoms of incontinence.
Similar to lifestyle changes, there are also behavioral changes you can make to help with incontinence.
There are two alternative medicine options that can potentially reduce your incontinence symptoms: biofeedback and acupuncture.
Various vaginal devices can help achieve greater bladder control and/or prevent leakage.
These devices are inserted into the vagina to lift the bladder by applying compression, thus stopping the cause of leakage. They are a low-risk treatment option that can be administered in the doctor’s office or at home. Furthermore, these devices combat other pelvic issues such as
pelvic organ prolapse, uterine prolapse, and bowel control.
Learn more about non-surgical UI treatment options in our blog post Non-Surgical and Surgical Options for Urinary Leakage.
If non-surgical options do not work, there are a few non-invasive procedures that may reduce incontinence.
Nerve stimulation involves sending small electrical currents to your bladder or pelvic floor. Two types of nerve stimulation help improve nerve sensation and strengthens the pelvic muscles:
With a low complication rate, many women find injections to be a more desirable option than surgery.
However, as with any medical procedure, there are risks.Injection risks include:
Discuss the risks and benefits of injections with your provider to find out if bulking agents or Botox are good options for you.
In severe cases, or when non-surgical options have been unsuccessful, surgery for urinary incontinence may be needed.
There are three different types of surgical treatments provided by Metro OBGYN to treat urinary incontinence:
Learn more about surgical options for incontinence in our blog Treatment Options for Overactive Bladder.
It’s important to be proactive when it comes to the health of your pelvic floor. While urinary incontinence may not be entirely preventable, there are several ways to alleviate the issue:
Being aware of where your pelvic muscles are located is the first step to strengthening your pelvic floor. But, how do you locate your pelvic muscles? There are three different ways to find your muscles:
Exercising your pelvic floor will help strengthen muscles, allowing you to control your bladder and bowel better, and can also alleviate discomfort. Pelvic floor exercises may include:
Want to learn even more about pelvic health and how to keep your pelvic muscles strong? Check out our blog How to Strengthen Your Pelvic Muscles.
Incontinence can often seem embarrassing. If you’re hesitant to disclose your incontinence issues to your provider, remember that you’re not alone and it’s nothing to hide.
The first step to taking back your life is speaking with a pelvic floor specialist about your pelvic health. Here are several steps you can take to prepare for your visit with a specialist.
Metro OBGYN providers are experts in treating conditions such as urinary incontinence. Should you and your provider determine that surgery is your best option, rest assured that our specialists are leaders in pelvic floor reconstructive surgery, including laparoscopic and robotic approaches.
Metro OBGYN's care team includes two leading experts in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, Dr. Kevin A. Hallman and Dr. Ron Mjanger.
Dr. Hallman and Dr. Mjanger are experienced providers specializing in women’s health. They are:
Our specialists have extensive experience treating all conditions related to the female urinary and reproductive tract. Learn more about female pelvic health in our blog 15 FAQs about Urogynecology.
Nearly one in four women will experience pelvic floor symptoms at some point in their lifetime. Consult with one of our specialists to explore treatment options or to learn more about pelvic floor disorders.