Urinary incontinence is a common and often embarrassing condition that affects people of all ages but is more common in older women. Urinary incontinence occurs when you experience an involuntary leakage of urine. It affects nearly half of all women and 75 % of women over 65.
But, despite incontinence being a common problem, women are often reluctant to discuss this treatable condition with their health care provider. At Female Health Associates of North Texas, located in Fort Worth, Texas, fellowship-trained urogynecologist Dr. Jeffrey M. Hantes offers compassionate and expert care for diagnosing urinary incontinence and developing a personalized treatment plan.
Here, Dr. Hantes explains the different types of urinary incontinence and various treatment options.
We’ve all experienced uncomfortable situations when we’ve had to go to the bathroom but couldn’t locate one. People who have incontinence may have leakage or accidents in those situations. There are many reasons people experience incontinence. Here are the most common types and reasons for urinary incontinence.
Stress incontinence is the most common type for younger and middle-aged women. It’s called “stress” incontinence because it occurs when you put “stress” or pressure on your bladder through physical activity, such as laughing, sneezing, or some exercise, and lose a little urine in the process.
The primary cause of this type of incontinence is weakened pelvic muscles. Women may develop weakened muscles through childbirth, especially a vaginal delivery. Other risk factors include obesity, smoking, and certain illnesses.
Urge incontinence is when you suddenly or immediately need to go to the bathroom, which often results in leakage. It’s more of an impediment to leading an active life than stress incontinence.
Causes of this type of bladder control issue include menopause, obesity, family history, and certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
Stress and urge incontinence are the two most common types of incontinence. Some people experience a mix of the two, called mixed incontinence.
Functional incontinence is when you have a normal functioning bladder, but you have physical or mobility limitations that may prevent or interfere with getting to a bathroom. This type of incontinence often affects older people with conditions like arthritis.
Fortunately, many effective ways exist to treat incontinence so you can live an active life free of embarrassment. Here are a few:
Control training involves a combination of pelvic floor muscle strengthening exercises and bladder training routines. Timed voiding, which consists of visiting the restroom at regular times during the day and then gradually increasing the time between those visits, is one such routine.
Depending on the causes or type of incontinence, Dr. Hantes may prescribe medications to block the nerve signals that cause frequent urination and urgency. He may prescribe these medications if bladder control training is ineffective, or combined with bladder exercises.
For incontinence that’s not controlled through bladder training or medication, Dr. Hantes may recommend neuromodulation. During neuromodulation, Dr. Hantes uses an FDA-approved device to stimulate nerves in the bladder leaving the spine.
Surgery can help when a woman’s bladder is moved out of its normal position, which can happen during childbirth. Dr. Hante may recommend retropubic suspension or sling procedures to support moving your bladder back to its normal position.
If you’re experiencing urinary incontinence, you can feel comfortable discussing your concerns with Dr. Hantes. Call Female Health Associates of North Texas to make an appointment or request one online.