Did you know that 56% of all postmenopausal women experience urinary incontinence at least once a week? And across the United States, more than 11 million women of all age groups deal with urine leakage on a regular basis.
As common as urinary incontinence is, it’s not normal, even though many women accept it as such. But there are several different means of treating this problem effectively.
Types of Urinary Incontinence
Treatment depends on which type of urinary incontinence a patient experiences. The two most common are stress incontinence and urge incontinence. Stress incontinence occurs during an activity that puts stress on the bladder, such as sneezing, laughing, coughing, or even lifting something. Urge incontinence is when a woman feels frequent, sudden urges to urinate, but cannot get to the restroom in time. This type of incontinence can also cause frequent nighttime waking to urinate.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options
For both stress and urge incontinence, there are treatments available which do not require surgery. Stress incontinence can be combatted by performing Kegel exercises, in which the patient repeatedly tenses and relaxes the pelvic floor muscles. Devices known as dish pessaries are also available which block the urine leakage. There are, however, no medications for the treatment of stress incontinence.
Urge incontinence, on the other hand, can be successfully treated with medications. Prescriptions for drugs such as Detrol, Ditropan XL, Sanctura, Vesicare, Enablex, Toviaz, or Myrbetrig can be helpful in controlling the urge to urinate. But medications are not the only treatment your physician may prescribe for urge incontinence. Urges can be curbed through biofeedback, in which bladder control techniques are taught and reinforced through positive feedback.
Bladder training is another treatment option for urge incontinence, in which patients train themselves to use the restroom according to a schedule, rather than their urges. Gradually the times between bathroom visits are increased, as bladder control improves. And finally, patients may be asked to follow a bladder-friendly diet, in which they eliminate any foods considered to be irritants to the bladder in order to reduce urges to urinate.
Surgical Treatment Options
If non-surgical methods of treating stress or urge incontinence are not effective at restoring a woman’s quality of life, surgery is the next step.
For stress incontinence, Botox can be injected next to the opening of the bladder. Another option is the placement of a sling underneath the urethra in order to give it added support and prevent urine leakage. There are various options for both the sling material and the method of surgery for positioning these slings. Finally, a surgery to stabilize the bladder can be performed, in which part of the vagina is sutured to a ligament on the pubic bone in order to provide added support.
For urge incontinence, the surgical method of treatment is the electrical stimulation of the nerves which control the bladder. This can be done once by your doctor, or regularly through an implant under the skin, which works in much the same way a pacemaker does.
If you are one of the millions of women experiencing tress or urge urinary incontinence, don’t wait to seek help. Contact Zeid Women’s Health Center today to make an appointment to speak with one of our OB/GYNs. With locations across East Texas, including offices in Longview, Henderson, and Tyler, our urogynecology experts are conveniently accessible. We would love to have the opportunity to help you regain your quality of life, whether through surgical or non-surgical treatment. Call us today to take the first step towards freedom from frequent urges, nighttime waking, and all the hassles of urinary incontinence.