Urinary Incontinence is More Common and Treatable Than You Think

Urinary incontinence

Do you worry about leaking urine with every laugh or cough? Do you find yourself racing to the bathroom hoping you make it in time? Are these issues impacting your social activities and quality of life? Fortunately, a number of treatments are available for urinary incontinence.

At Holistic OB/GYN & Midwifery with offices in Clifton and Passaic, New Jersey, our midwives provide a wide range of women's health, gynecological, and obstetric services to women of all ages. With a holistic approach to health, they work to improve total wellness in a comfortable and compassionate environment.

Urinary incontinence facts

Although many people suffer in silence due to feelings of embarrassment, they are far from alone. In fact, urinary incontinence affects anywhere from a quarter to a third of adults in the U.S.

Severity can range from a small amount of urine occasionally leaking to a more significant accident after not making it to the bathroom when having a sudden urge to go. It frequently happens as people get older, but it is not directly caused by aging. Typically it can be traced to daily habits, a medical condition, a physical issue, pregnancy and birth.

The two most common types are stress incontinence when physical movement puts pressure on the bladder like when laughing, coughing or sneezing and overactive bladder, which is an uncontrollable sudden need to urinate.

Causes

Temporary urinary incontinence can result from ingesting certain foods, beverages, or medications that stimulate the bladder and increase the amount of urine. It can also be caused by a urinary tract infection or constipation.

If it is an ongoing problem, there could be a physical issue. Examples in women include pregnancy, residual effects from childbirth, menopause, and having a hysterectomy. Men could experience it due to an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer (either from the cancer itself or as a side effect of prostate cancer treatment). In addition, a tumor, urinary stones, or various neurological disorders can cause urinary incontinence in both women and men.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis typically begins with a thorough medical exam and health history. A urinalysis may be ordered to check for infection and any other conditions that could be causing the issue. Keeping a bladder diary may also be suggested to obtain additional information.

In some cases testing may be recommended such as measuring how much urine remains in the bladder after voiding, measuring pressure in the bladder and the area around it, examining the bladder and urethra with a scope, and capturing images of the bladder filling and emptying.

Treatment

If any underlying cause is discovered, treatment for it will be initiated. If not, often behavioral therapies are recommended. These may include pelvic floor muscle exercises (known as Kegel exercises), monitoring fluid intake, and avoiding potential dietary irritants like coffee and caffeine. Quitting smoking and losing weight can also help when applicable. For some people bladder training using a specific schedule for when to urinate may be suggested.

If these interventions do not bring about improvement, other possibilities can be explored such as medication and devices like a vaginal pessary and urethral insert. For people who still haven't experienced relief, there are several surgical options that can be explored as a last resort.

If you're tired of having your social life ruled around the nearest bathroom, call or click to book an appointment with us today for an evaluation.

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