What is urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence simply means leaking urine. Incontinence can range from leaking just a few drops of urine to complete emptying of the bladder.
What other symptoms occur with urinary incontinence?
It is common for other symptoms to occur along with urinary incontinence:
What are the types of urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence in women can be divided into three main types:
What causes urinary incontinence?
Some of the causes of urinary incontinence include the following:
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How is urinary incontinence diagnosed?
The first two steps in assessing urinary incontinence usually are a medical history and physical exam:
Sometimes, imaging tests and bladder function tests are done if more information is needed.
What types of treatment are recommended for urinary incontinence?
Your gynecologist or other health care professional may first recommend nonsurgical treatment. This may include lifestyle changes, bladder training, physical therapy, and using certain bladder support devices. For urgency urinary incontinence, the treatment may involve medication. Surgery may help certain types of incontinence. Often, several treatments are used together for the best effect.
What lifestyle changes can help decrease urine leakage?
The following lifestyle changes may help decrease urine leakage:
What types of exercise and physical therapy can help treat urinary incontinence?
Kegel exercises can help strengthen the pelvic muscles. These exercises are helpful for all types of incontinence. Biofeedback is a training technique that may help you locate the correct muscles. In one type of biofeedback, sensors are placed inside or outside the vagina that measure the force of pelvic muscle contraction. When you contract the right muscles, you will see the measurement on a monitor.
What devices are available to help treat urinary incontinence?
A pessary is a device that is inserted into the vagina to treat pelvic support problems and SUI. Pessaries support the walls of your vagina to lift the bladder and urethra. They come in many shapes and sizes. Usually you can insert and remove a support pessary yourself. Pessaries may provide relief of symptoms without surgery. An over-the-counter tampon-like device also is available that is designed specifically to help prevent bladder leaks.
What medications are available to help treat urinary incontinence?
Many medications are available to help reduce the symptoms of urgency urinary incontinence and OAB:
Is there a surgical procedure to treat urinary incontinence?
There are different types of surgical procedures for different types of incontinence. You and your doctor may discuss many factors before choosing the surgery that is right for you, including the risks and benefits of each type.
What types of surgery are available to treat SUI?
Surgery to correct SUI includes the following procedures:
What procedures are available to treat urgency urinary incontinence?
- Sacral neuromodulation—This is a technique in which a thin wire is placed under the skin of the low back and close to the nerve that controls the bladder. The wire is attached to a battery device placed under the skin nearby. The device sends a mild electrical signal along the wire to improve bladder function.
- Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS)—PTNS is a procedure that is similar to acupuncture. In PTNS, a slender needle is inserted near a nerve in the ankle and connected to a special machine. A signal is sent through the needle to the nerve, which sends the signal to the pelvic floor. PTNS usually involves weekly 30-minute office sessions for a few months.
Accidental Bowel Leakage: Inability to control the bowel, which can lead to leakage of solid or liquid stool (feces) or gas.
Antibiotics: Medications that treat certain types of infections.
Biofeedback: A technique used by physical therapists to help a person control body functions, such as heartbeat or blood pressure.
Bladder: A muscular organ in which urine is stored.
Bladder Neck: The narrow part of the bladder above the urethra.
Diuretic: A drug or substance that increases the production of urine.
Dysuria: Pain during urination.
Frequency: Urinating at short intervals, usually defined as more than every 2 hours or more than 7 times a day.
Kegel Exercises: Pelvic muscle exercises that assist in bladder and bowel control as well as sexual function.
Nocturia: The need to urinate frequently during the night.
Nocturnal Enuresis: Urine leakage during sleep.
Pelvic Exam: A physical examination of a woman’s reproductive organs.
Pelvic Floor: A muscular area at the base of the abdomen attached to the pelvis.
Pelvic Floor Disorders: Disorders affecting the muscles and tissues that support the pelvic organs; these disorders may result in loss of control of the bladder or bowels or cause one or more pelvic organs to drop downward (prolapse).
Pelvic Organ Prolapse: A condition in which pelvic organs, such as the uterus, bladder, or rectum, drop downward. It is caused by weakening of the muscles and tissues that support these organs.
Pessary: A device inserted into the vagina to support the organs that have dropped down (prolapsed) or to help control urine leakage.
Synthetic: Made by a chemical process, usually to imitate a natural material.
Urethra: A tube-like structure through which urine flows from the bladder to the outside of the body.
Urgency: A sudden, strong desire to urinate, even though the bladder may not be full.
Urinary Incontinence: Involuntary leakage of urine.
Vagina: A tube-like structure surrounded by muscles leading from the uterus to the outside of the body.