What is Urinary Incontinence?
Leakage of urine is called urinary incontinence. Some women leak small amounts of urine. At other times, leakage of urine is frequent or severe.
Are there different types of urinary incontinence?
There are several types of urinary incontinence:
What are the symptoms of urinary incontinence?
In addition to leaking urine, a woman with incontinence also may have other symptoms:
What causes urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence can have short-term causes and long-term causes. Short-term causes are easier to treat and include the following:
Long – term causes include the following:
How is urinary incontinence diagnosed?
A number of steps may be needed to find the cause of urinary incontinence. In some cases, there may be more than one cause.
You may be asked to keep a voiding diary for a few days in which you record the time and amount of urine leakage. You also should note how much liquid you drank and what you were doing when a leak occurred.
A pelvic exam will be done to detect physical conditions that might be linked to the problem. Lab tests also may be done to detect a urinary tract infection. Other tests that assess how your bladder functions include the following:
How is urinary incontinence treated?
There are many options for treatment. Often treatments are more effective when used in combination. Treatment options include lifestyle changes, bladder training, physical therapy, devices, medications, bulking agents, and minimally invasive surgery.
What are some of the lifestyle changes that are used to manage urinary
Making the following changes in your lifestyle, if they apply to you, may help the problem:
What is bladder training?
The goal of bladder training is to learn how to control the urge to empty the bladder and increase the times between urinating to normal intervals (every 3-4 hours during the day and every 4-8 hours at night). After a few weeks of this training, leakage may occur less often.
What types of physical therapy are used to treat urinary incontinence?
There are many types of physical therapy that can be done to treat urinary incontinence. One type, Kegel exercises, can help strengthen the pelvic muscles. Kegel exercises, along with bladder training and modifying fluid intake, are often very successful in treating stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
If you have trouble doing Kegel exercises, you may want to see a physical therapist who specializes in women’s pelvic health. Biofeedback is a training technique that may be useful if you have problems locating the correct muscles.
How are Kegel exercises done?
Kegel exercises tone your pelvic muscles. Here is how they are done:
Be careful not to squeeze the muscles of the leg, buttock, or abdomen. Do these exercises on a regular basis. It may take 4-6 weeks to notice an improvement in urinary incontinence symptoms.
What devices are used to treat urinary incontinence?
A pessary is a device that is inserted into the vagina to treat pelvic support problems and urinary incontinence. Pessaries support the pelvic structures, and some compress the urethra. They come in all shapes and sizes. They are useful for women who do not want or cannot have surgery to correct their incontinence.
What medications are used for treatment?
Drugs that help control muscle spasms or unwanted bladder contractions can help prevent leaks associated with urge incontinence. These medications also can help reduce the frequency of urination. Your health care provider will help you decide which drug is most likely to work best for you.
What are bulking agents?
These agents may be used when the muscle surrounding the urethra is very weak and surgery may not be ideal or has not worked. A substance is injected into the tissues around the urethra to add bulk. The urethra becomes narrowed, decreasing leakage. This procedure can be done in a doctor’s office or clinic.
What types of surgery treat urinary incontinence?
Several very successful surgical procedures have been developed to treat stress urinary incontinence. We will discuss many factors that should be considered, including you age, lifestyle, and general health before choosing to have surgery.
Drugs that treat infections.
A technique in which an attempt is made to control body functions, such as heartbeat or blood pressure.
A muscular organ in which urine is stored.
A tube used to drain fluid or urine from the body.
An infection of the bladder.
Drugs given to increase the production of urine.
Pain during urination.
An abnormal opening or passage between two internal organs.
The need to urinate frequently during the night.
A manual examination of a woman’s reproductive organs.
A device inserted into the vagina to support sagging organs.
Benign (noncancerous) growths that develop from tissue lining an organ, such as that lining the inside of the uterus.
A test in which sound waves are used to examine internal structures.
A short, narrow tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body.
A muscular organ located in the female pelvis that contains and nourishes the developing fetus during pregnancy.
A tube-like structure surrounded by muscles leading from the uterus to the outside of the body.
A daily log in which a woman keeps track of how many times she urinates, her fluid intake, and the number of times she leaks urine.