Female Urinary Incontinence
You are not alone if you suffer from female urinary incontinence. Millions of people experience involuntary loss of urine or a sudden urge to urinate before losing a large amount of urine. Urinary incontinence and bladder control are issues that more than 13 million people in the United States share. Urinary incontinence and bladder control are twice as likely to occur in women, especially moms and older women, even though both men and women can share these often embarrassing situations. Pregnancy and childbirth, menopause, and the structure of the female urinary tract all account for this difference between the sexes.
However, female urinary incontinence is not inevitable with age. It is a medical problem and your doctor or nurse can help you find a solution. If you sometimes have trouble reaching the bathroom in time or experience leaking when you laugh, sneeze, or lift something heavy, then there may be a medical solution for you.
Signs and Symptoms
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you leak urine unexpectedly?
- Does the urine loss occur during coughing, sneezing, laughing, bending or lifting?
- Does the urine loss occur when you change from a sitting or lying position to a standing position?
- Do you leak urine continuously?
- Is urine loss a problem to you?
- Has this urine loss caused you to change your lifestyle?
These urinary incontinence questions were designed to show the different symptoms that indicate the various types of incontinence. If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, or if your answers are of concern to you, please contact Women’s Specialists of Plano to discuss your responses from this self-test.
Types of Female Urinary Incontinence
- Functional- Untimely urination because of physical disability, external obstacles, or problems in thinking or communicating that prevent a person from reaching a toilet.
- Overflow- Unexpected leakage of small amounts of urine because of a full bladder. Weak bladder muscles, blocked urethra, some tumors, and urinary stones have all been known to cause this type of incontinence even though it’s very rare in women.
- Stress- Leakage of small amounts of urine during physical movement (coughing, sneezing, exercising)
- Urge- Leakage of large amounts of urine at unexpected times, including during sleep, after drinking a small amount of water, or when you touch water or hear it running.
- Mixed- Usually the occurrence of stress and urge incontinence together. Mixed incontinence is the most common type of urine loss in women.
- Transient- Leakage that occurs temporarily because of a condition that will pass like urinary tract infections, medications, mental impairment, and restricted mobility.
- Overactive Bladder- Having to urinate more frequently than seven times a day. This occurs when abnormal nerves send signals to the bladder at the wrong time, causing its muscles to squeeze without warning. Symptoms might include: bothersome urination eight or more times a day/two or more times at night (urinary frequency); the sudden, strong need to urinate immediately (urinary urgency); urge incontinence; and/or awaking at night to urinate (nocturia).
Evaluation for Urinary Incontinence
A patient medical history will need to be taken by your physician and evaluated for signs and symptoms you are experiencing including your pattern of urinating, and urine leakage. Therefore it might be suggested to start a bladder diary that includes any straining and discomfort, fluid intake, use of drugs, recent surgery, recent illness, and the times and estimated amount of urination. Your physician will also physically examine you for any medical conditions that might cause incontinence such as treatable blockages from bowel or pelvic growths, weakness of the pelvic floor, or pelvic organ prolapse (where the vagina or bladder begins to protrude out of your body).
If you are found to have urinary incontinence, your doctors at Women’s Specialists of Plano might suggest a variety of treatment options. Here is a brief list of possible treatments available, both surgical and non-surgical.
- Behavioral Modifications
- Protective Undergarments
- Vaginal/External Devices
- Bulking Injections
- For urge incontinence not responding to behavioral treatments or drugs, stimulation of nerves to the bladder leaving the spine can be effective in some patients.
- A stimulator device is surgically implanted.
- Retropubic Suspension
- Uses surgical threads to support the bladder neck by securing the threads to strong ligaments within the pelvis to support the urethral sphincter.
- Sling Procedure
- Uses a strip of our own tissue to cradle the bladder neck. Sling serves as support for the urethra during increased abdominal pressure.
- Midurethral Sling
- Uses synthetic mesh materials that a surgeon places midway along the urethra to provide the right amount of support for urethra.
The information provided on this website is not intended to be a substitute for a thorough discussion with your gynecologist about which treatment option, should you need one, is best for you, including surgical treatment. There are risks associated with any surgical procedure and individual results may vary. Surgery may not be appropriate for every individual.
If you believe you are in need of any advice or treatment for urinary incontinence, consult with the doctors at Women’s Specialists of Plano about bladder control treatment options that may be appropriate for your medical condition. Please contact our office today to schedule an appointment.