Urinary Incontinence: Types and Treatment
If you always have an eye out for the nearest restroom or have to stop yourself from sneezing for fear of having “an accident,” you are likely suffering from one of the four types of urinary incontinence. Many women believe urinary incontinence is inevitable with age or childbirth - that it’s something women just have to live with. But today there is a wide range of treatments – non-invasive, minimally invasive, and surgical – that can dramatically improve a woman’s life by stopping urinary incontinence.
The Causes of Incontinence
A woman’s pelvic organs are under considerable physical strain, especially during pregnancy and childbirth, which can trigger urinary incontinence. The hormonal and physical changes of menopause can also impact urinary continence, which is closely tied to vaginal and overall pelvic floor health. Because the cause and treatment of urinary incontinence can involve the urinary system and surrounding tissues and structures, it is commonly considered a urogynecological issue.
The First Step Is Determining The Nature Of The Incontinence.
At Coyle Institute, Dr. Coyle and his staff can accurately diagnose and treat any woman suffering from urinary incontinence, providing a range of options that will provide safe, effective relief and offer them a chance to live life without limits.
The first step is determining the nature of the incontinence. There are four general types:
- Urge incontinence: Urge incontinence (or overactive bladder) causes a strong, sudden need to urinate even if your bladder isn’t full. You might not be able to make it to the bathroom in time. If you have ever had a urinary tract infection, you know that feeling of urgency.
- Stress incontinence: When you cough, laugh, sneeze, or exercise you leak. Any pressure on the bladder muscles can trigger a sudden, unexpected leakage of urine.
- Overflow incontinence: When the bladder doesn't empty completely, and typically presents with continuous urinary leakage or dribbling. Other symptoms may include a weak or intermittent urinary stream, hesitancy or frequency. Overflow incontinence may be caused by nerve issues, a blockage, certain medications or other factors that limit the bladder's ability to empty fully every time.
- Functional incontinence: The physical inability to make it to the bathroom in time is functional incontinence. Women who have limited mobility may suffer from functional incontinence.
After an accurate diagnosis is made, a woman can get the right treatment for her particular issues.
Urinary Incontinence: Regaining Control
There are a few initial steps that can put almost any woman on the path to better controlling urinary incontinence:
- Do Kegel exercises, which contract and relax the pelvic floor muscles and build strength to help control spasms of the bladder or the urge to urinate.
- Use the bathroom on a regular schedule rather than waiting for the urge to strike.
- Eliminate foods and beverages that cause the bladder to fill more quickly or which irritate the bladder.
- Lose weight, which will ease physical stress on the bladder.
- Take prescribed medications to treat an overactive bladder.
- Use a pessary—a soft, flexible device inserted into the vaginal to give physical support to pelvic organs.
- Use a catheter, which empties the bladder through a thin tube inserted through the urethra.
One new and effective non-surgical treatment for stress incontinence and overall vaginal health is diVa® Laser Vaginal Therapy. diVa® uses two separate, penetrating lasers to resurface and tone the vaginal walls. This, in turn, strengthens pelvic structures and helps aid in controlling mild to moderate incontinence. The safe and effective treatment takes only a few minutes to perform in your urogynecologist’s office, and there is no downtime after the procedure other than no intercourse for 7-10 days.
Another option is the injection of bulking agents, which work by injecting the urethra with a trusted medical synthetic called Durasphere that initiates a restructuring process. The urethra is physically strengthened and can offer greater control of urine before it flows from the bladder.
A minimally invasive and more permanent option is InterStim® therapy. A small neurotransmitter device is implanted under the skin near the sacral nerve, where it sends electrical impulses from the nerve to the brain to the bladder to initiate control of the pelvic muscles and the urge to urinate. The implantation can be done on an outpatient basis that requires only a few hours.
There are also advanced surgical options, including sling procedures, bladder neck suspension, prolapse surgery, or an artificial urinary sphincter.
It’s Important To Take Incontinence Seriously
In some cases, urinary incontinence can signal a more serious medical issue, such as pelvic organ prolapse, overactive bladder, or an infection. It’s important to take incontinence seriously and seek treatment with a urogynecologist rather than resigning yourself to constant discomfort.
At Coyle Institute, we have many years of experience in treating women suffering from all types of urinary incontinence and provide them with effective options to improve their lives quickly and wholly.
Don’t live with the anxiety and discomfort of urinary incontinence! Consult with the team of women’s health experts at Coyle Institute to learn more about how to treat your issues with all types of incontinence today!