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Urinary Incontinence: Regain Control with Columbus OB/GYN

At Columbus OB/GYN, we understand that urinary incontinence can significantly impact a woman’s quality of life. We are dedicated to providing compassionate care and effective treatments to help you regain control and live confidently.

Understanding Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence refers to the involuntary leakage of urine, leading to unexpected and often embarrassing episodes. It can range in severity from occasional mild leakage to a complete loss of bladder control. It is a common condition that affects women of all ages, although it becomes more prevalent with age.

Types of Urinary Incontinence

There are different types of urinary incontinence, each with its own set of causes and symptoms. The main types include:

Functional Incontinence

Functional urinary incontinence arises when a woman has a condition that does not allow her to reach the bathroom in time. For instance, someone with Parkinson’s disease or arthritis may have trouble walking. Side effects of medications can cause confusion or dizziness, also making it difficult to reach the toilet. Poor vision or long distances to the bathroom are other examples.

Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence is most common in younger women. This occurs when the pressure inside the bladder overwhelms the muscles holding the urine inside. Several situations increase the pressure in the abdomen, causing the bladder pressure to go up and leak, like sneezing, coughing, and laughing. Certain activities can also cause leaking, like walking, running, and jumping.

Overflow Incontinence

This occurs when the bladder does not completely empty during urination. Eventually, the bladder overfills and this causes small leaks over a long period of time. This may occur when the urethra is blocked or the bladder muscle is weak.

Urge Incontinence

This type of incontinence occurs when a woman has intense urges to urinate and leaks before reaching the toilet. Another related condition that can cause urge incontinence is OVERACTIVE BLADDER. In this case, the bladder muscle contracts more often and more intensely than normal, leading to sudden strong urges to urinate even though the bladder may not be full. BLADDER INFECTIONS also can be the cause of urgency leading to urine loss.

Mixed Incontinence

This is simply a combination of both stress and urge incontinence occurring in the same woman.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of urinary incontinence include the following:

Causes and Risk Factors

Several factors can contribute to the development of urinary incontinence, including:

Hormonal changes

Menopause and decreased estrogen levels can contribute to changes in bladder and urethral tissues, leading to urinary incontinence.

Pelvic Support Problems

Pelvic support problems can arise when the muscles and tissues that hold up the pelvic organs become weakened, often from pregnancy and childbirth. This causes those organs to sag, often causing them to press against the bladder, making it more sensitive to pressure and leaving less room to expand.

In addition, the bladder itself can “fall,” increasing the chance of incontinence.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

UTIs are infections of the bladder and urethra that can cause feelings of pressure and pain. Symptoms of UTIs include painful/burning urination, frequency, urgency, and blood in the urine. UTIs can be treated with antibiotics.


Certain classes of medications, like diuretics or “water pills,” increase the amount of urine flowing into the bladder. This can contribute to urgency and incontinence.

Neuromuscular Disorders

Neuromuscular disorders are conditions that affect muscles and nerves that control the bladder. The result can be difficulty emptying the bladder or bladder spasms. Neuromuscular disorders include stroke, multiple sclerosis/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and diabetes.

Urinary Tract Abnormalities

Changes can occur in the bladder or urethra, resulting in incontinence problems. For example, fistulas are abnormal openings between organs and can occur between the bladder or urethra and the vagina. This causes urine to leak directly out of the vagina. Fistulas can develop due to childbirth, radiation, surgery, cancer, and pelvic surgery.

Treatment Options

The good news is that urinary incontinence is treatable, and various options are available to manage and alleviate the symptoms. At Columbus OB/GYN, we offer personalized treatment plans that may include the following:

  • Avoiding constipation
  • Stopping smoking
  • Avoiding heavy lifting
  • Losing weight
  • Getting treatment for lung problems that cause coughing
  • Avoiding caffeine and diet pills
  • Changing drinking habits (what, when, and how much)
  • Medications: Medications can help reduce urinary incontinence by treating other conditions. If you have a UTI, you will be given antibiotics to clear up the infection. If you have uncontrollable bladder spasms, medication to reduce the spasms may be prescribed. Also, a medication that strengthens the urethra may be used. Sometimes, these medications cause side effects, such as nausea, blurred vision, constipation, dry mouth, and sleep changes.
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy centers around the idea of strengthening the pelvic muscles in order to help a woman control her urges to urinate and to hold back any leaks. These are called Kegel exercises, and when practiced regularly, they can help a woman hold her urges and control her bladder muscles. Bladder training and biofeedback are also other methods used in physical therapy.
  • Devices: Sometimes, devices are inserted into the vagina to help strengthen the pelvic muscles or support the pelvic organs. These include-
    • Weighted Cones: A tampon-shaped cone is inserted into the vagina for several minutes twice a day. This device contains weights, and as the muscles of the pelvis flex to keep it in place, they are exercised and become stronger.
    • Pessary: A pessary is a device placed in the vagina to support “falling” or “sagging” pelvic organs. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are removed daily, and some stay in place for weeks. These need to be selected and sized in a provider’s office.
    • Surgery: Surgery is a treatment for serious, stress-related incontinence. Whether or not your provider chooses this method for you will depend on factors such as your age, medical history, health, and lifestyle.


Specialized Care at Columbus OB/GYN

At Columbus OB/GYN, we understand that each woman’s experience with urinary incontinence is unique, and our compassionate team is here to provide personalized care. We offer comprehensive evaluations, accurate diagnoses, and individualized treatment plans to address your specific needs and goals.

If you are experiencing urinary incontinence or have concerns about bladder control, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with our experienced team at Columbus OB/GYN. We are dedicated to helping you regain control, improve your quality of life, and provide the support and guidance you need for optimal health and well-being.