Urinary incontinence affects millions of women, many of them older. It can range from occasionally leaking urine when you cough or sneeze to having an urge to urinate that is so sudden and strong, you can’t make it to a toilet in time. It is an extremely common – but often embarrassing – problem.
Coordinated Care by a Team of Specialists
The Incontinence Clinic at the Center for Womens Health is designed to make it easier for women to navigate this sensitive, but important, health issue. The clinic provides coordinated care by a team of specialists, including gynecologists and a urologist, creating a seamless experience for women seeking accurate diagnosis and advanced treatment for incontinence.
A Common Problem
The two most common types of urinary incontinence in women are stress and urgency incontinence.
- Stress incontinence occurs when the muscles and tissues around the urethra (where urine exits) do not stay closed properly when there is increased pressure ("stress") in the abdomen, leading to urine leakage. As an example, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or running can cause stress incontinence. Pregnancy and childbirth can stretch and weaken a woman’s pelvic floor muscles. Other things that can lead to stress incontinence are being overweight or obese, or taking certain medications.
- Urge incontinence (also called overactive bladder) involves a sudden, overwhelming urge to urinate. You may leak urine on the way to the toilet. Common triggers of urgency incontinence include unlocking the door when returning home, going out in the cold, turning on the faucet, or washing your hands. Causes of overactive bladder include damage to the bladder's nerves, damage to other parts of the nervous system, or damage to muscles. Conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and stroke can affect nerves, leading to urge incontinence. Bladder problems, such as infections and bladder stones, and certain medications can also cause it.
Importance of an Accurate Diagnosis
Stress and urgency incontinence have different treatment options, so an accurate diagnosis of the problem is important. That often means the involvement of more than one specialist. At the Incontinence Clinic at the Center for Womens Health, women have access to the different specialists they may need to see all in one place, eliminating the need to go from clinic to clinic in search of the proper diagnosis and treatment.
For most women, once the cause of the problem is correctly identified, effective treatment is available. The key is customizing a treatment plan that matches your individual situation. Treatments fall into several broad categories, including managing fluid intake, exercises or physical therapy, medications, and surgery.
Talk to Your Doctor
You don’t have to live with incontinence issues… you just have to ask for help. If incontinence is affecting your daily life, it’s time to speak to your doctor. The topic might be embarrassing for you to bring up, but remember, from your doctor’s perspective, it’s just another normal—in fact, extremely common—medical condition.
Schedule an Appointment
If urinary incontinence is affecting your daily life, call the Center for Womens Health at 920-262-4825 to schedule an appointment.
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