Posts Tagged ‘Bladder Incontinence’
An estimated 17 million women in the U.S. will cope with female bladder problems and urinary incontinence each year. According to the Women’s Specialists of Plano, TX, (972.379.2416, http://obgynplano.com), a large majority of these women do not discuss the symptoms associated with their incontinence with their family doctors and in many cases, the condition is left untreated.
Urinary incontinence is the medical term used to describe the loss of urine control. It can happen when you cough, sneeze, exercise or do any other type of activity that may put stress on the bladder. Urinary incontinence can exist where a woman might experience episodes of a slight dribble of urine, to the inability to hold urine all together; it can also be temporary or permanent depending on the underlying cause. While it is not a serious health concern, it can lead to anxiety, stress and embarrassment for sufferers.
Causes of Female Urinary Incontinence
Female urinary incontinence is usually caused by weakened or damaged pelvic muscles that prevent the urethra from closing tight enough to hold urine in the bladder. Many women will experience incontinence after giving childbirth where exceptional strain is put on the pelvic region. For many, this condition will go away, while for others, it will continue to worsen before female incontinence treatment is sought. Other causes of female urinary incontinence include:
- The aging process
- Traumatic injury
- Weight gain
- Neurological disorders (spinal cord/head injuries)
- Infections (urinary tract, bladder infections, etc.)
- Certain diseases (such as Multiple Sclerosis)
- Medications, prescription drugs
Types of Female Urinary Incontinence
Drs. Daryl Greebon, Jules Monier, Murray Fox, Dennis Eisenberg and Jennifer Newton are Plano, Texas gynecologists that make up the Women’s Specialists of Plano. They offer female incontinence treatment and see various types of female urinary incontinence from patients that enter their office doors.
There are five basic types of urinary incontinence. Stress incontinence occurs when you leak urine during a physical activity such as lifting, jumping, exercising, sneezing and coughing. It is typically a result of both hypermobility (which occurs when the urethra and bladder neck shift from their normal positions) and an Intrinsic Sphincter Deficiency, which occurs when the urethral sphincter is unable to close tightly enough to hold urine in the bladder during physical exertion.
Urge incontinence is described as over-activity of the detrusor muscle, which is the smooth muscle that surrounds the bladder. It typically relaxes to allow the bladder to fill, then contracts to squeeze out urine when a woman goes to the toilet. During urge incontinence, the bladder will contract frequently creating an overwhelming need to urinate even if you just went. This condition is often referred to as “overactive bladder” and makes it difficult to hold your urine long enough to reach a toilet.
Other forms of female urinary incontinence include overflow incontinence where the bladder never completely empties causing urine to leak, and functional incontinence where a physical limitation or immobility may exist making it impossible for a person to reach the toilet in time.
Female Incontinence Treatment
There are solutions for female urinary incontinence and female bladder problems that have been proven to bring them a sense of normalcy. Every woman should discuss their symptoms with their physician so that the correct solution can be found. For mild incontinence, Kegal exercises are usually effective; behavior therapies and small lifestyle changes such as decreasing the amount of fluids taken in or scheduling bladder elimination can also help.
For women who experience moderate incontinence, medications, protective undergarments and bulking injections such as collagen may be used. Some women find that their female bladder problems go away with the use of a pessary device. A pessary device is a stiff ring that is inserted into the vagina where it places pressure against the wall of the vagina and urethra. This pressure helps control leakage because it repositions the urethra.
For many women, surgery becomes the answer in order to get their incontinence under control. Retropubic suspensions are used to treat hypermobility. These suspensions elevate and restore the bladder neck and urethra back to their natural anatomical positions. This procedure is often referred to as the Burch procedure.
A variety of slings are also available to help restore normal bladder function. Slings can be inserted via a minimally-invasive surgical technique to help support the bladder and urethra. Some slings use self-fixating anchors while others use sutures. All are used to provide relief of the sensations and symptoms associated with urinary incontinence and most provide good results.
If you suffer from incontinence, make an appointment with your gynecologist to talk about your symptoms and options for a permanent solution so that your quality of life can be restored and the stress and anxiety from female urinary incontinence eliminated.