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.
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.
There are different types of urinary incontinence, each with its own set of causes and symptoms. The main types include:
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 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.
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.
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.
This is simply a combination of both stress and urge incontinence occurring in the same woman.
Symptoms of urinary incontinence include the following:
Several factors can contribute to the development of urinary incontinence, including:
Menopause and decreased estrogen levels can contribute to changes in bladder and urethral tissues, leading to urinary incontinence.
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.
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 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.
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.
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:
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.