The Battle That Many Women Face with Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is any involuntary leaking of urine, from small drops to large amounts of urine enough to stain clothing. Although the condition can occur in both men and women, it is most often a problem for women. This condition falls under the heading of Pelvic Floor Disorders which involve the muscles, nerves and connective tissue surrounding the vagina, uterus, bladder and rectum.
When damage occurs to the supporting pelvic floor, a number of conditions can occur, including the inability of the bladder to hold urine.
Urinary incontinence is most commonly one of four types:
- Stress Incontinence– The person may experience a leak of urine when they perform physical activity that puts pressure on the bladder. This may include physical exercise, lifting heavy objects, or even from sneezing or coughing. Often occurs due to changes female anatomy and nerves which can from childbirth, aging and even weight gain.
- Urge Incontinence – Occurs when the urge to urinate occurs suddenly, giving the person little time to find a restroom and often making it difficult to participate in normal social activities.
- Mixed Incontinence– A combination of stress and urge incontinence with one type often being worse than the other.
- Overflow Incontinence – Occurs when the bladder is so full that it begins to leak, but without the sensation of fullness that usually accompanies a full bladder.
There are different causes and degrees of urinary incontinence, and there is a variety of non-surgical and surgical treatments available to provide relief. Some women may be able to improve their condition by performing Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor, by behavior modification such as dietary changes or losing weight, or by taking medications for overactive bladder.
Due to the option of minimally-invasive surgeries that produce excellent results, more women are making the choice for surgery. Shorter recovery times, lower incidence of risk, and fewer restrictions on their activities following surgery make treatment less of an inconvenience and worry.
Women of any age should not accept incontinence as a normal part of aging when there are so many options for treatment available today. The sooner urinary incontinence is treated, the sooner they can get back to doing more of the things they love.
Don’t let urinary incontinence get in the way of the things you enjoy when an experienced local urogynecologist from Weill Cornell Medicine Urology can provide solutions that will improve your quality of life. A great way to start is by reviewing the “Risks and Causes” and “Symptoms and Evaluation” on urinary incontinence.