Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control, or leaking urine. According to the US Office on Women’s Health, urinary incontinence affects twice as many women as men. There are several types of urinary incontinence that have different causes and symptoms.
- Stress urinary incontinence (SUI): The most common type of incontinence, occurs when urine leaks when there is stress or pressure on the bladder.
- Urge urinary incontinence (UUI): A sudden and strong need to urinate without urine followed by the loss of urine.
- Overflow incontinence: This occurs when the bladder is not able to fully empty when you urinate. This results in small amounts of urine leaking out later.
- Mixed incontinence: A combination of the above types of urinary incontinence. More specifically, it is the combination of stress urinary incontinence and urge urinary incontinence.
The two most common types of urinary incontinence in women are SUI and UUI.
Urinary Incontinence Evaluation
If you have the symptoms of urinary incontinence, a doctor can evaluate you to make a diagnosis. The first step is taking a full medical history, reviewing any medications you’re taking, and discussing all of your symptoms. Then they will perform a physical exam. Usually, a diagnosis can be made with a medical history and physical exam.
In some cases, diagnostic tests may be required, including:
- Cough stress test
- Bladder ultrasound
- Urodynamic testing
Treating & Managing Urinary Incontinence
The treatment of urinary incontinence depends on the type and underlying cause of the incontinence.
Lifestyle and Behavioral Changes
The first line of treatment for urinary incontinence is often the management of symptoms through lifestyle and behavioral changes. This may include:
- Bladder training by holding it when you feel the urge to urinate
- Changing fluid intake or diet
- Scheduling toilet trips
- Double voiding, or urinating and trying again a few minutes later
- Pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the muscles that control urination
There are medications and devices that can help manage the symptoms of incontinence.
- Anticholinergic drugs: Control UUI by helping the bladder muscle relax.
- Hormone treatments: Vaginal or urethral estrogen therapy can help with incontinence after menopause by keeping the walls of the vagina, urethra, and bladder neck healthy.
For patients with severe symptoms that are not well managed with other treatments, surgery may be recommended.
- Sling procedures
- Suspension procedures
- Nerve stimulation
The team at Kamm McKenzie OB/GYN is experienced in providing quality care for women in all stages of life. That includes evaluating and treating urinary incontinence. Call us at 919-781-6200 to make an appointment.