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Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence, or loss of bladder control, is a common problem for men and women. More than 13 million people in the United States suffer from urinary incontinence, and women experience this condition twice as often men. The condition often causes embarrassment for sufferers.

Contributing factors to female urinary incontinence include childbirth, menopause, and the female anatomy. The severity of this condition ranges from occasionally leaking urine when you cough or sneeze to having an urge to urinate that's so sudden and strong you don't get to a bathroom in time.

The primary indication of urinary incontinence is the inability to hold urine or the unwanted release of urine. You may feel a pressure or urge to urinate, or have leakage that causes wetness of clothing. You may urinate in your sleep without awaking, although that alone is not an indication of urinary incontinence.

Types of Urinary Incontinence

  • Stress incontinence: When pressure on the bladder, such as caused by sneezing, causes urine leaks
  • Urge incontinence: When there is a sudden, overwhelming urge to urinate followed by an involuntary release of urine
  • Overflow incontinence: When there is a frequent dribbling of urine due to your bladder not emptying completely
  • Most women with incontinence experience a combination of these, which is termed mixed incontinence.

Causes of Urinary Incontinence

The causes of urinary continence in women will differ depending on what type of incontinence it is, but could include:

  • Infection, such as urinary tract infection (UTI) or kidney infection
  • Neurological disorder or disease
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Constipation
  • Obstruction, caused by a tumor or kidney stones
  • Childbirth and trauma to the bladder region
  • Hysterectomy
  • Ingesting food, drink and medication that stimulate the bladder and increase urine volume

Diagnosing Urinary Incontinence

It is important for your physician to determine which type of incontinence you have in order to guide treatment. Your physician will begin with a thorough medical history and physical exam.

The following may be recommended as part of the diagnostic process to determine the most effective treatment:

  • Urinalysis, testing a urine sample for chemical or hormonal abnormalities
  • Keeping a bladder diary, a recording over several days of your eating and drinking habits as well as your urination times and issue
  • Post-void residual measurement, when the physician checks the amount of leftover urine in your bladder immediately after urinating using a catheter or ultrasound test. This test could indicate a blockage in your urinary tract, or a problem with nerves or muscles in the region
  • Urodynamic testing
  • Cystoscopy
  • Pelvic ultrasound

Treatment for Urinary Incontinence

Depending on the type of incontinence and the severity of the condition, you may be advised to undergo the following treatments:

  • Bladder training and Kegel exercises (pelvic floor therapy) to strengthen the muscles of the pelvis and urinary tract
  • Fluid and diet management, in combination with scheduled bathroom trips
  • Medication to can treat incontinence and overactive bladder
  • Medical devices such as a pessary or urethral insert
  • Interventional therapies such as nerve stimulators or Botox®
  • Surgery

In Miami, contact urologist Dr. Marvin Bondhus for unparalleled care of urinary incontinence. Call (305) 661-9692 today for a consultation or request one online.