What Is Female Incontinence
Female incontinence is the loss of bladder control in women. It is not uncommon to lose urine during pregnancy or with urinary tract infections temporarily. There are many reasons you might develop urinary incontinence as a chronic problem. The most common causes are pelvic floor trauma with childbirth, menopause, hysterectomy, obesity, cognitive impairment, chronic cough and constipation.
There are three types of female incontinence:
- Urge incontinence: Women with urge incontinence feel the need to urinate frequently. They experience leakage of urine during times associated with this urge.
- Stress incontinence: Women with stress incontinence, also known as physical or exertion incontinence, may experience urine leakage, especially when coughing, laughing, exercising or sneezing.
- Mixed incontinence: Many women experience a combination of stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
Types Of Urinary Urgency
Urinary urgency is a general term that is used to describe a frequent or consistent urge to urinate. There are different types of urinary urgency that patients should take note of.
We share a quick overview of the specific types of urinary urgency below. Patients should consider the specific symptoms they experience. This will help them determine the type of urinary urgency they may have.
Treatment Of Urinary Incontinence
Now that you know about some of the common causes of urinary incontinence in women, taking the next step towards diagnosis and treatment should be done as early as possible.
At All About Women, our patients in Lake City, Gainesville and all across the northern region of Florida come to us for our compassionate OB/GYN specialists who have considerable experience treating urinary incontinence in women.
Remember that losing control of your bladder is often a symptom of other underlying diseases or conditions, so it is important to seek care and treatment right away.
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Kegel Exercises For Women
Strengthening pelvic floor muscles can reduce or even cure symptoms of stress incontinence. Kegel exercises target the muscles that control the flow of a stream of urine. You need to do the routine regularly to attain and maintain maximum benefit. Kegel exercises are easy to do it just takes a little practice to make sure youÃ¢re concentrating your efforts on the right area.
How to Do Kegel Exercises
To perform Kegel exercises, contract the muscles you use to stop a stream of urine. Hold for 3 seconds and then release. Relax for 3 seconds. Work up to 3 sets of 10 Kegels. You can start performing these workouts while lying down. As you get stronger, you can do them while sitting or standing. If youÃ¢re having trouble isolating the correct muscles, a doctor, nurse, or physical therapist can help you with your technique.
How To Get Help For Female Urinary Incontinence
Still feeling unsure about your first step? Remember, incontinence doesnt have to stop you from enjoying daily life on your terms. Getting the right diagnosis and treatment can be a life changer.
If you think that you might have urinary incontinence, reach out to one of our primary care doctors. Well answer any questions you may have and guide you to treatment that will work for you. If specialty care is needed, well refer you to our team of compassionate urogynecology specialists.
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When To Seek Medical Help
Any instance of incontinence is reason to seek medical help. It may be a symptom of a more serious condition that needs to be treated.
Even if the underlying cause isnt serious, incontinence can be a major disruption in your life. Its important to get an accurate diagnosis and discuss treatment options with a healthcare professional.
In some cases, incontinence can be a sign of a medical emergency.
You should seek immediate medical attention if you lose control of your bladder and experience any of the following symptoms:
- trouble speaking or walking
Urinary incontinence and treatment for urinary incontinence may result in complications, depending on the cause.
These complications may include:
- Urinary tract infections. UTIs can be caused by wet undergarments against the skin. This may create an environment where bacteria can grow.
- Kidney damage. In some cases where the flow of urine is obstructed, you may experience kidney trouble or kidney failure.
- Cellulitis. This skin infection is caused by bacteria and may cause swelling and pain.
- Medication side effects. Medications used to control urinary incontinence may cause side effects, depending on the medication. Side effects may include dry mouth, nausea, hypertension, or others.
- Catheter side effects. If you have a catheter placed, you may experience side effects such as infection and trauma.
- Mental health side effects. Urinary incontinence may cause feelings of anxiety, depression, or social isolation.
Treatment Options For Urge Incontinence
Treatments for this type of condition also should address the underlying cause, such as better diabetic control weight loss or limiting of bladder irritants, like smoking, alcohol, caffeine and carbonated beverages. Bladder retraining with timed voiding intervals may provide significant relief for some patients and can be quite effective.
Medications that relax bladder muscles can improve urge incontinence symptoms as a second-line treatment. The most reported side effects include dry mouth, constipation, heartburn and dry eyes. A newer class of medications avoid some of these side effects however, they may cause slight elevations in blood pressure.
Peripheral tibial nerve simulation is a third-line treatment option offered in the clinic setting that uses an acupuncture-like needle and mild electric simulation. The treatment consists of 12 sessions lasting 30 minutes each with optional once-a-month maintenance therapy options.
Bladder muscle Botox injections are being used in patients who have severe symptoms. Injections offer reasonable improvements in symptoms for six months or longer, with common side effects being related to urine retention or urinary tract infections. These injections must be repeated every six to nine months.
Watch this video to learn more about urinary incontinence treatments, including sacral neuromodulation therapy:
Tarek Khalife, M.D., and Gokhan Anil, M.D., are OB-GYNs in Mankato and New Prague, Minnesota.
Topics in this Post
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Primary Purposes Of Review Update
- To update the evidence on the topic of nonsurgical treatments for UI in adult women. -EHC074-EF, April 2012).
- To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of the efficacy, comparative effectiveness, and harms of nonpharmacological and pharmacological interventions for adult women with all forms of UI.
- To summarize information on how women with UI define a successful outcome, and to highlight data on these outcomes.
Frequently Asked Questions About Urinary Incontinence In Women
What happens if urinary incontinence is left untreated?What happens if urinary incontinence is left untreated?
Having urinary incontinence may affect your life in many areas. It can cause problems with work and leisure activities and lead to problems in your relationships and sex life. You may feel less like going out and become socially isolated, anxious and even depressed. Many women dont seek medical help, perhaps because they feel embarrassed. But theres a lot of help available, and things that you can do yourself to help improve your symptoms. For more information, see our sections on self-help and treatment.
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How Is Incontinence Diagnosed
Often, the diagnosis process for incontinence will start with a conversation with your healthcare provider about your medical history and bladder control issues. Your provider might ask you questions like:
- How often do you urinate?
- Do you leak urine between trips to the toilet, how often does this happen and how much urine do you leak each time?
- How long have you been experiencing incontinence?
These questions can help your provider figure out a pattern with your leakage, which often points to a specific type of incontinence. When your provider is asking about your medical history, its important to list all of your medications because some medications can cause incontinence. Your provider will also ask about any past pregnancies and the details around each delivery.
There are also several specific tests that your provider might do to diagnose incontinence, including:
While at home, your provider might recommend you keep track of any leakage in a journal for a few days. By writing down how often you experience incontinence issues over the span of a few days, your provider might be able to identify a pattern. This can really help in the diagnosis process. Make sure to write down how often you need to urinate, how much you are able to go each time, if you leak between trips to the bathroom and any activities you might be doing when you leak urine. Youll then bring this journal with you to your appointment and talk about it with your provider.
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Why Does Pregnancy Cause Incontinence
During pregnancy, your body goes through a lot of physical changes. As your uterus stretches to hold the growing baby, a few things happen. Your bladder can be squished by the expanding baby, making your bladder hold less than before. You might experience an increased urgency to pee during pregnancy because your bladder cannot hold as much as before. This might become even more challenging towards the end of pregnancy when the baby is at its largest.
Another reason for incontinence during pregnancy is the weakening of your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles are the support structures for all of the organs in your pelvis. During pregnancy, they can be stretched and weakened as your uterus expands.
What Causes Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is not an inevitable result of aging, but it is particularly common in older people. It is often caused by specific changes in body function that may result from diseases, use of medications and/or the onset of an illness. Sometimes it is the first and only symptom of a urinary tract infection. Women are most likely to develop urinary incontinence during pregnancy and after childbirth, or after the hormonal changes of menopause.
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Urinary Incontinence In Women Symptoms Causes & Treatment
There are many cases where women suffer from urine incontinence, and it is no doubt an embarrassing problem for women. It is the situation when urine leaks when a woman sneezes or coughs. Once women get older, it develops often. Urinary Incontinence in Womenhampers daily activity, and it is always suggested to consult with doctors once women suffer from this problem.
Getting The Right Diagnosis
If youre experiencing urinary incontinence, dont hesitate to visit your doctor and explain your symptoms. Many types of doctors can diagnose urinary incontinence, including a primary care physician, OB/GYN or urologist. Urogynecologists have special training and expertise in womens incontinence issues.
Your doctor will take a detailed medical history and conduct a physical exam. This includes a detailed pelvic exam to assess the organs and muscles. Your doctor will also look for signs of underlying medical conditions that may be causing incontinence and perform any necessary diagnostic tests. You may be asked to keep a bladder diary to keep track of when you urinate and when you experience leakage. After the doctor has examined all the data, he or she will make a diagnosis and discuss potential treatments.
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What Steps Can I Take At Home To Treat Urinary Incontinence
Your doctor or nurse may suggest some things you can do at home to help treat urinary incontinence. Some people do not think that such simple actions can treat urinary incontinence. But for many women, these steps make urinary incontinence go away entirely, or help leak less urine. These steps may include:
You can also buy pads or protective underwear while you take other steps to treat urinary incontinence. These are sold in many stores that also sell feminine hygiene products like tampons and pads.
How Is Incontinence Treated
There are many different factors that your healthcare provider will consider when creating a treatment plan for your incontinence. The type of incontinence and the ways it affects your life are both big considerations. Your provider will also talk to you about the type of treatment you are most comfortable with. There are three main types of treatment you can explore for incontinence medications, lifestyle changes and surgery. Each option has pros and cons that your provider will discuss with you.
Medications to treat incontinence
There are quite a few medications that can reduce leakage. Some of these drugs stabilize the muscle contractions that cause problems with an overactive bladder. Other medications actually do the opposite thing relaxing muscles to allow your bladder to empty completely. Hormone replacement therapies can often involving replacing estrogen thats decreased during menopause may also help restore normal bladder function.
In many cases, medications can work very well to return normal function to the bladder. Your provider will carefully select a medication that matches your specific needs. Often, your provider will start you on a low dose of the medication and then increase it slowly. This is done to try and reduce your risks of side effects and to keep track of how well the medication is working to treat your incontinence.
Common medications that can be used to treat incontinence include:
- Oxybutynin , oxybutynin XL , oxybutynin TDDS .
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What Causes Frequent Urination Pressure And Fullness
Frequent urge to urinate, Frequent urination and Pressure or fullness. WebMD Symptom Checker helps you find the most common medical conditions indicated by the symptoms frequent urge to urinate, frequent urination and pressure or fullness including Urinary tract infection , Diabetes, type 2, and Vesicoureteral reflux.
How Can You Prevent Urinary Incontinence
Strengthening your pelvic muscles with Kegel exercises may lower your risk for incontinence.
If you smoke, try to quit. Quitting may make you cough less, which may help with incontinence.
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
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Treating the cause of incontinence often gets rid of or controls these problems.
Some bladder problems are temporary. For example, you may have a urinary tract infection that causes incontinence, but the problem goes away after the infection is cured.
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Causes Of Urinary Incontinence In Dogs
There are many causes of incontinence in dogs, including:
- Urinary tract infection
- Inherited medical condition that occurs at or before birth
- Hormonal imbalance
- Prostate disorders
- Diseases that cause excessive drinking of water, for example, diabetes, kidney disease, and Cushingâs disease
- Some medications, like corticosteroids
Pelvic Floor Muscle Training
Your pelvic floor muscles surround the bladder and urethra and control the flow of urine as you pee.
Weak or damaged pelvic floor muscles can cause urinary incontinence, so exercising these muscles is often recommended.
A GP may refer you to a specialist to start a programme of pelvic floor muscle training.
The specialist will assess whether you’re able to squeeze your pelvic floor muscles and by how much.
If you can contract your pelvic floor muscles, you’ll be given an exercise programme based on your assessment.
Your programme should include a minimum of 8 muscle contractions at least 3 times a day and last for at least 3 months. If the exercises are helping after this time, you can keep on doing them.
Research has shown that pelvic floor muscle training can benefit everyone with urinary incontinence.
Find out more about pelvic floor exercises.
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What Are The Most Common Types Of Urinary Incontinence In Adult Women
The two most common types of urinary incontinence are:
- Stress incontinenceWith stress incontinence, urine leakage occurs when the bladder is under pressure, such as when a person laughs, coughs, sneezes or exercises.
- Urge incontinenceUrge incontinence involves a strong, sudden urge to urinate that results in leakage.
These types of incontinence are defined by their causes. Many women may experience a combination of both stress and urge incontinence a condition commonly referred to as mixed urinary incontinence.
According to , chief of at Main Line Health, although these conditions are incredibly common, . People may find these symptoms embarrassing and refrain from discussing them with friends or family members.
As a result, many women are not aware of whom to seek help from or the many treatment options available to them. Left untreated, urinary incontinence can negatively impact people’s personal, social, and sexual lives. It can also interfere with daily activities like work and exercise.
Fortunately, the specialty of female pelvic medicine is dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of , such as incontinence, which can dramatically improve the quality of life of women who suffer from these conditions.
Treating And Managing Urinary Incontinence
Today, there are more treatments and ways to manage urinary incontinence than ever before. The choice of treatment depends on the type of bladder control problem you have, how serious it is, and what best fits your lifestyle. As a general rule, the simplest and safest treatments should be tried first.
A combination of treatments may help you get better control of your bladder. Your doctor may suggest you try the following:
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