Dealing with Urinary Incontinence
If you’ve had a problem controlling your bladder, you’re not alone. In a large study conducted in 2005 involving 23 million women, 38% said they’d suffered at least one episode of urinary incontinence in the last year.
At Women’s Health Medical Group, we can treat your incontinence.
More statistics from that study:
- 13.7% of women with bladder control problems said they suffered incontinence every day.
- 10% of women with bladder control problems said they had incontinence every week.
- As women get older, daily incontinence is more common. Among women aged 60-64, 12% report daily incontinence, increasing to 21% of women age 85 and older.
What causes urinary incontinence in women?
Most people have one of two types of incontinence — stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
- Stress incontinence is caused by conditions that stretch the pelvic floor muscles such as childbirth and weight gain. When your pelvic floor muscles can’t provide ample support to your bladder, the bladder drops down and pushes against your vagina. This prevents you from being able to tighten the muscles that usually close off the urethra so that urine can leak. This is especially the case when extra pressure is applied when you do things like coughing, sneezing, laughing or exercise.
- Urge incontinence is caused when the bladder muscle involuntarily contracts and pushes urine out of the bladder. The cause can’t always be pinpointed, but it can be due to bladder irritation, emotional stress, and certain brain conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.
Diagnosing and testing for incontinence
At Women’s Health Medical Group we’ll go through your medical history and conduct a physical exam. We may also want you to keep a bladder diary for three or four days.
We may order these tests:
- Bladder stress test and Bonney test — A bladder stress test simulates the accidental release of urine that occurs when you a cough, sneeze, laugh or put other stress on your pelvic muscles. If it’s verified there is some release; we may perform a Bonney test. The neck of the bladder is lifted slightly with a finger or instrument inserted into the vagina while stress is applied to the bladder. This checks to see if the incontinence is the result of the bladder neck being pushed down too far by the stress.
- Pad test — This gives us an idea of how much urine is leaking over a certain period.
- Urinalysis and urine culture — These tests give us the makeup of your urine. This will show issues such as bladder infections or the existence of bacteria.
Although some women assume incontinence is an inevitable part of aging, it’s not. We can apply different treatments that cure or vastly help your incontinence.
- Behavioral training — Bladder training, timed urination, etc.
- Lifestyle changes — These include pelvic floor exercises, less caffeine, etc.
- Medicines — Depending on if your incontinence is stress or urge related, there are a variety of prescription medicines to help. Believe it or not, Botox can even be effective in keeping your bladder muscles from being overactive.
- Medical devices — A pessary may be inserted into the vagina to provide support.
- Surgery — Surgery can only be used for stress incontinence. Surgeries will lift the urethra, the bladder, or both into the normal position. Surgery is the most effective cure for stress incontinence.
If you’re suffering from urinary incontinence, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Tell your Women’s Health Medical Group doctor, and we’ll get to work diagnosing and treating your incontinence. Call us, 817-346-5336.