More than 15 million men and women in the United States suffer from urinary incontinence, according to the Urology Care Foundation. Women are twice as likely as men to experience urinary incontinence. Because urinary incontinence, sometimes referred to as an overactive bladder, can be treated successfully, many of these people suffer from the disease needlessly.
What Is Urinary Incontinence?
Simply put, urinary incontinence is an involuntary loss of bladder control. In its mildest form, its symptoms may only be a few drops of urine occasionally upon coughing, sneezing or laughing. For other individuals, symptoms range from mild urine leakage to uncontrollable wetting. In some people, the urge to urinate is so strong and sudden, they are unable to make it to the bathroom in time.
Treatments for Urinary Incontinence
Whether your urinary incontinence is mild, moderate or severe, the good news is that it can be successfully treated through the following approaches.
Bladder training. In mild cases, bladder training is typically the first approach to treating an overactive bladder. This involves urinating at set schedules, called timed voiding, with gradually longer periods of time between bathroom trips.
Kegel exercises. Pelvic muscle exercises, known as Kegel exercises, involve contracting and relaxing the muscles used for holding urine in for up to 10 seconds each. Kegel exercises also include temporarily stopping the flow of urine midstream for several seconds while urinating. Computerized biofeedback training is often incorporated into Kegel exercises.
Medications. Several medications, including Ditropan, Detrol, Cystospaz and Oxytrol, are used to relax the bladder muscles and treat the urge to urinate.
Adult pads, diapers and undergarments. Today’s adult products for incontinence are less bulky and more discreet than they were in the past, making them a great choice for many individuals.
Urinary devices. Light urine leakage can be managed through disposable adhesive patches that cover the urethral opening, a vaginal device called a pessary, or tampon-like urethral plugs. Catheters may be used as a last resort to drain the bladder.
Surgery. Common surgeries used to treat urinary incontinence are the sling procedure and the bladder neck suspension procedure. Laparoscopic and robotic surgery techniques may also be used to reconstruct the pelvic floor.
Today, there are many treatments for urinary incontinence. The choice depends on the type and seriousness of your urinary incontinence and what best suits your lifestyle. As a general rule, physicians recommend that the safest and simplest treatments be tried first.
If you have questions about urinary incontinence, contact us here or call us at (404) 705-5201 to discuss your symptoms and treatment options.