My Urinary Incontinence Is Embarrassing: Can You Help?

My Urinary Incontinence Is Embarrassing: Can You Help?

Of the 25 million people in the United States who report problems with urinary incontinence, most are women. In fact, 1 in 4 women over age 18 reports encountering urinary incontinence.

Our goal in presenting these numbers isn’t to imply that urinary incontinence is normal, because we don’t consider it to be, but, rather, that you’re in good company.

While there’s some comfort in knowing you’re not alone, Dr. Joan Bergstrom and the team here at Women's Health Services offer excellent treatment options for women who are struggling with urinary incontinence, and we want to review them here.

Understanding the types of urinary incontinence

When we treat urinary incontinence, our first step is to determine which type of incontinence you’re dealing with. There are several types of urinary incontinence, and the most common include:

Stress urinary incontinence

This type of incontinence occurs when your pelvic floor is weak and isn’t able to support your bladder properly. As a result, any time you apply extra pressure to your bladder, such as when you sneeze or cough, urine leaks out.

Urge incontinence

You experience frequent and strong urges to urinate due to an overactive bladder.

Mixed incontinence

This form of incontinence is common, and it’s a combination of the two we mentioned above — stress and urge.

Once we identify which type of incontinence is affecting you, we can take the next steps to resolve the problem.

Treatment options for urinary incontinence

If we find that urge incontinence is your primary issue, we can prescribe medications to help quiet your overactive bladder. These medications are effective, but you can also take some steps on your own in the form of bladder training, which involves gradually increasing the time in between urinations.

If you have stress incontinence, our first step is to strengthen your pelvic floor so that it better supports your bladder. Kegel exercises are the most effective in this regard, and we explain to you how to execute them correctly.

Should the incontinence continue despite your efforts, we can turn to a pessary, which is a soft, flexible device that we insert into your vagina to support your bladder. Or, we might recommend a urethral sling, which is a mesh device that we surgically place under your urethra to prevent it from dropping under pressure, such as when you exercise.

For women over age 50, urinary incontinence often stems from pelvic organ prolapse (POP), which affects up to 50% of women in this age group. With POP, organs shift out of place and place more pressure on your bladder, or your bladder itself moves out of position.

If the prolapse is moderate to severe, we can use a surgical technique called a bladder suspension which uses synthetic material to help keep your urethra closed. Dr. Bergstrom has extensive experience with this surgical technique, and she’s helped scores of women overcome the unwelcome side effects of POP, including urinary incontinence.

To determine which treatment option is right for you, book an appointment online or over the phone with Women's Health Services in Arlington, Texas. today. 

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