Urinary incontinence is a common problem that is often ignored. It can be embarrassing. It can be annoying. It can keep you from doing things that you would otherwise like to do such as jumping on the trampoline with your children and exercising. It can leave you looking for bathrooms everywhere you go. Nobody wants to talk about it, but did you know that an OB/GYN can help?
Urinary incontinence falls into two main categories: urge incontinence and stress incontinence. Urge incontinence means you feel an urge to void, but can’t hold it long enough to make it to the bathroom. Overactive bladder is a similar problem that can overlap or be considered a milder form, where no actual urine leakage occurs.
Stress incontinence means urine leaks with any straining or pressure on the bladder such as when you sneeze, cough, or bear down. Stress incontinence will occur more often when your bladder is full. A third category is mixed incontinence, which simply means you have features of both urge and stress incontinence.
Many things can contribute to incontinence such as medication, infection, dietary and lifestyle choices, childbearing, pelvic organ prolapse (such as uterine or bladder prolapse), and other medical conditions.
As part of an evaluation for urinary incontinence, these factors will be assessed to help guide you to the proper treatment. A wide variety of treatments exist and should be tailored to your particular cause of incontinence. The goal of treatment is to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life. Potential treatments include bladder training, pelvic floor exercises (Kegels), lifestyle or dietary changes, oral medications, surgery, or incontinence pessaries (pessaries are available for one-time use over the counter or from your doctor as a reusable silicone disc that inserts into the vagina to apply pressure to the bladder).
Many women have at least occasional urinary incontinence. While urinary incontinence is not dangerous, it can be bothersome. If you are bothered by urinary incontinence or if it is keeping you from doing or enjoying activities, then make an appointment with your OB/GYN today to get started on a road to a leak-free future.
By Jason Morris, MD
Canyon View Women’s Care