Urinary incontinence is a very common problem that can sometimes be difficult to discuss with your provider. Some women are hesitant to talk about incontinence because they feel embarrassed or think that there isn’t help available. There are many options for help available, so don’t be shy, speak up!
There are several different kinds of incontinence, but I am going to focus on two of the most common. Stress incontinence is when you have leaking when you put pressure on your bladder. For example, it may happen when you cough, sneeze, or exercise. If your provider feels that you have stress incontinence, they may recommend special exercises called kegels to help strengthen the muscles that control leaking. It has also been shown that modest weight loss can also decrease the amount of stress incontinence. That is a tremendous benefit for a very modest weight loss. The next step after lifestyle modification may involve surgical options or a pessary. There are small rubber devices called pessaries which are designed to put pressure on a woman’s urethra and decrease the incidence of stress incontinence. Some women may also be candidates for surgery.
A second kind of incontinence is urge incontinence. This is when a sudden urge to go to the bathroom occurs from nowhere and can lead to accidents because the bladder muscle contracts and causes leaking before you can get to the bathroom. This bladder muscle hyperactivity may also include constantly feeling the urge to urinate, or urinating more than twice in the middle of the night. The first step to treat this is monitoring fluid intake and using relaxation techniques to retrain the bladder on when it is appropriate to go. This can be very frustrating and has limited success. The next step is medications for overactive bladder. These can work very well for some ladies, but the medicines do not work for everyone. Some women are unable to tolerate the side effects of the medications; others do not have an adequate response, so they suffer in silence.
If medications do not work for you, there are further options. The medications target the muscle of the bladder, but other non-medicinal treatments target the nerve which stimulates the bladder. I currently offer two such treatments. To learn more about InterStim, one of the options that targets the nerve, please visit www.vidscript.com/smoya
There is no need to suffer in silence! If you are having problems, please make an appointment today to discuss what options may be appropriate for you.