incontinence

Female Incontinence

You never used to have to worry about something as routine as going to the bathroom. Then suddenly, worrying about it seems to be all you do. The compassionate incontinence specialists at Urology Partners will help you take charge of your bladder. We offer effective treatment options for every type of incontinence.

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Adult diapers and pads aren't a long-term solution.

Leaky bladder is a cruel twist for many.

An urgent need to go, uncontrollable trickles of urine and full-blown wetting accidents can take a real toll on your life. It’s embarrassing, frustrating, even debilitating. Nearly a third of men and women in the United States suffer from some form of urinary incontinence—the loss of bladder control known as leaky bladder. If you’re one of them, you know adult diapers and pads aren’t a long-term solution.



What causes leaky bladder?

Many people think incontinence is an unavoidable part of aging. While it’s true leaky bladder occurs more often as people grow older, aging isn’t the only cause. In women, it’s often related to weakened pelvic muscles following childbirth or pelvic organ prolapse. In both men and women, incontinence can be caused by nerve problems brought on by diabetes, stroke, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease. Some medications can also impair bladder control.


Not all incontinence is the same.

There are five types of incontinence—stress, urgency, overflow, functional and mixed. Each form presents its own challenges.

Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence (SUI) is the most common type of incontinence and occurs when movements like jogging, coughing, sneezing or laughing put pressure on the bladder. In women, this mostly happens due to weakening of the pelvic floor from childbirth or menopause.

Urgency Incontinence

Urgency incontinence better known as overactive bladder (OAB)—affects nearly 15 million women in the United States. With OAB, the muscles of the bladder contract involuntarily even when there isn’t much urine in the bladder. This contraction creates a strong and urgent need to go. The urge happens frequently and is often difficult or impossible to control. OAB is more common in people in their 40s and 50s, but it isn’t always related to aging. Neurological disorders can also trigger its onset.

Overflow Incontinence

Overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder stops contracting the way it should and retains urine. Damaged nerves, prolapsed pelvic organs, childbirth, scar tissue from pelvic surgery and some medications can affect the bladder’s ability to empty normally. Sufferers experience frequent or constant dribbling of urine because their bladder doesn’t empty completely.

Functional Incontinence

Functional incontinence is caused by a physical or mental impairment that prevents individuals from making it to the toilet in time. Individuals with chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s have a greater risk for functional incontinence.

Mixed Incontinence

Mixed incontinence is a combination of one or more types of incontinence.

 

There Are Effective Treatment Options for Every Type of Incontinence

You’ve tried to re-assert control over your bladder, but the “oh no” moments keep happening. You’re not alone.
The incontinence sisterhood is large. Still, living with leaks, being afraid to venture too far from a bathroom and
wearing pads or diapers shouldn’t be your new normal.

Stress Incontinence Urgency Incontinence Overflow Incontinence Functional Incontinence Mixed Incontinence



Stress Incontinence


Stress IncontinenceKegels. Targeted exercises can help strengthen the group of muscles that extend from the inside of the pubic bone to the anus. Woven around the vagina, urethra and rectum, these pelvic floor muscles help control the contractions of the bladder and pressure on the urethra—tightening and relaxing to start and stop the flow of urine.

Pelvic floor therapy and biofeedback. This specialized form of therapy helps reboot the bladder, pelvic floor, brain and abdominals so they work together to eliminate incontinence. It begins with a pelvic exam to test the strength of a patient’s pelvic floor muscles and see if they’re relaxing and contracting properly. Biofeedback reveals whether an individual can engage various pelvic floor muscles to control their bladder when they move. Once the cause of leaking is identified, an individualized treatment plan is developed by a physical therapist to retrain patients about the way they move so leaks are eliminated.

Sling. A hammock-like sling is used to support the urethra and prevent urine leaks. While there are several ways the sling procedure can be performed, and many different types of materials that can be used to create a sling, your UP urologist will determine which are best for you. More than one million women have had the sling procedure. Studies show that 85 to 94 percent of them no longer struggle with incontinence and were able to resume normal, non-strenuous activities within a few days.

Bulking injections. This in-office procedure is a good option for individuals who don’t want to undergo a surgical procedure or who may not be healthy enough for surgery. Bulking agents (protein substances) are injected into the patient’s urethra to bulk it up and stop leaks. Done in the doctor’s office, the procedure takes about five minutes. Patients remain awake, but local anesthesia is used to eliminate any discomfort. A cystoscope with a small camera is used so the physician can precisely target the injection site and dosage. The injections provide immediate, long-lasting relief. Some patients may eventually need a second injection, but most patients need only one injection for permanent relief.



Urgency Incontinence


Lifestyle changes. Fluid and diet modification, weight loss and pelvic-floor or Kegel exercises can help reduce the risk for OAB and symptoms.

Prescription medications. There are many good medications that are very successful in improving OAB symptoms. Your UP urologist will determine if one might be right for you.

Botox. It turns out Botox does more than keep facial wrinkles at bay. Botox works by calming the nerves and muscles around the bladder—reducing or eliminating the sudden and uncontrollable urge to urinate. Administered by injection, patients receive shots right in their physician’s office. Most people notice improvement in about two weeks. Botox controls incontinence for several months, and the injections can be repeated as often as needed when symptoms return.

InterStim procedure. The same pacemaker technology used to effectively treat heart patients is having a dramatic impact on the lives of people who suffer from overactive bladder. A small battery-operated pacemaker sends mild electrical pulses to the sacral nerves that control the bladder. Stimulating these nerves helps the bladder relax, hold more urine and spasm less so patients don’t have to go to the bathroom as often or leak as much. The pacemaker is a good option for people who haven’t responded to medications. Patients can even try the pacemaker in their doctor’s office to see if it works before having it implanted in the upper buttock. About 85 percent of people who receive the pacemaker are free of OAB symptoms.

Posterior tibial nerve therapy. A series of weekly outpatient treatments given over the course of 12 weeks uses mild electrical stimulation to retrain nerves that control bladder function. A slim needle electrode is placed in the ankle. A stimulator sends mild electrical pulses through the electrode to the tibial nerve and on up to the sacral nerve plexus at the base of the spine that controls bladder contractions. The therapy reduces urgency, frequency and accidents without surgery or the unpleasant side effects of many oral medications. A monthly follow-up treatment helps maintain results.



Overflow Incontinence


Your UP urologist will create an individualized care plan for you that may incorporate one or more of the above treatments to address the cause of your incontinence.



Functional Incontinence


Your UP urologist will create an individualized care plan for you that may incorporate one or more of the above treatments to address the cause of your incontinence.



Mixed Incontinence


Your UP urologist will create an individualized care plan for you that may incorporate one or more of the above treatments to address the cause of your incontinence.



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