Overflow Incontinence: Causes and Treatment for Women

Overflow incontinence happens when the bladder doesn’t empty completely, causing it to fill quickly, which leads to more frequent and urgent urination. After eliminating more common causes of urinary incontinence such as a bladder or urinary tract infection, your doctor can run tests to pinpoint the cause of your urinary issues. Overflow incontinence is rare in women but can be treated effectively by a urogynecologist.

Is it time to seek help for your overflow incontinence? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my everyday life impacted by urinary incontinence?
  • Is my sex life hurt by urinary incontinence?
  • Do I experience ongoing anxiety due to urinary incontinence?
  • Are my self-esteem and self-image hurt by urinary incontinence?
  • Am I ready to discuss my issues with a urogynecologist and seek proven treatment?

What Causes Overflow Incontinence?

  • Nerves fail to sense bladder fullness, sometimes caused by illnesses such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis
  • Pelvic muscle weakness
  • Medication side effects
  • Urethral blockage (kidney stone, scar tissue, pelvic organ prolapse, etc.)

Symptoms can include:

  • A sudden release of urine
  • Feeling as though your bladder is full even after urination
  • A urine stream that stops and starts during urination
  • Difficulty urinating even while feeling the urge to urinate
  • Wetting the bed

Treatments That Best Suits Your Condition And Lifestyle

After diagnosing your overflow incontinence, your doctor can help you decide on the course of treatment that best suits your condition and lifestyle.

Some simple steps that can help overflow incontinence can be started immediately:

  • Bladder training: Gradually increase the waiting time between urination to retrain the bladder
  • Double voiding: Wait a few minutes after urinating and try again. This helps train the bladder to empty completely
  • Scheduling bathroom breaks: Go by the clock rather than waiting for the urge to go
  • Pelvic muscle (or Kegel) exercises: Toning and tightening the muscles you use to stop urinating
  • Pessary: A stiff, vaginal ring inserted daily to hold the bladder in place and prevent leakage
  • Urethral insert: A disposable device similar to a tampon inserted into the urethra to stop leaks
  • Medications: Medicine can improve bladder emptying by treating symptoms of an overactive bladder
  • Low-dose topical estrogen treatment: This may help restore and tone tissue in the urethra and vaginal areas to help with incontinence symptoms.

diVa® Vaginal Laser Treatment, available at the Coyle Institute, can also help relieve minor to moderate urinary incontinence issues by stimulating collagen and tissue rejuvenation. This creates more tone and strength in the structure surrounding the vagina and urethra and in the pelvic floor.

Women also have many effective and safe surgical options. InterStim®, a small neurotransmitter, sends electrical impulses to control the signals sent to the brain, the bladder, and the surrounding muscles. The InterStim® system requires only a minimally invasive surgical procedure and can be done on an outpatient basis.

The Coyle Institute has the area’s only urogynecologists, experts in treating all the related systems of the pelvic region for more complete treatment options.

Contact us today to schedule your consultation and reclaim your life from the unpredictable embarrassment of overflow incontinence.