Urinary incontinence refers to the uncontrollable leakage of urine. Many men and women suffer from this condition, and the symptoms can be moderate to severe.
Urge incontinence can be the result of a variety of factors, including:
- overactive bladder
- weak pelvic muscles (referred to as stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse)
- production of more urine than the bladder can hold
- urinary tract infection (UTI)
Physical changes to the urinary tract can also lead to incontinence; pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause, an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer, an obstruction in the bladder, or an injury to the bladder, for example.
Urinary Incontinence Treatment and Care
Whatever the cause, one thing is for sure: urinary incontinence can be extremely embarrassing. Fortunately, there are ways to combat the medical condition. Urinary incontinence treatment and care depends on the type of incontinence a person is suffering from, as well as his or her overall physical and mental health, and age; however, the following are some of the treatment options that may help to improve this condition:
- Pelvic floor muscle exercises. Exercising the muscles of the pelvic floor can help to relieve stress incontinence. The pelvic floor refers to the muscles that control urination; therefore, strengthening these muscles can reduce involuntary urine leakage.
- There are several medications that can be used to treat urinary incontinence. Topical estrogen, for example, may help to strengthen the tissues within the urethra, thereby reducing the symptoms. Anticholinergics can help to ease an overactive bladder. Mirabergron can relax the muscles of the bladder, which can increase the amount of urine that the bladder can hold; it can also enhance the ability to fully empty the bladder. Imipramine, an antidepressant, can also help to relieve the symptoms of incontinence.
- Medical tools. There are a number of devices that can help to control incontinence. A urethral insert, a small, disposable device (similar to a tampon) can be inserted into the urethra prior to activities that may spark incontinence, such as jumping, running, or lifting weights. Pessary, a ring that is inserted within the vagina, can elevate the bladder and stop it from leaking. Bulking agents, such as Botox can also help to relieve symptoms; when injected into the bladder, it can strengthen the muscles.
- Surgical procedures. There are also surgical procedures that can improve urinary incontinence. A sling, which involves the placement of a synthetic mesh material around the neck of the bladder and supports the urethra, which can prevent the uncontrolled passage of urine. Individuals who have developed incontinence as a result of the prolapse of a pelvic organ can undergo prolapse surgery. The surgical insertion of an artificial sphincter around the neck of the bladder can help to hold the urinary sphincter closed until the patient is ready to pass urine, at which point he or she would push a valve that has been implanted underneath the skin to allow urine to flow out of the bladder.
In addition to these treatments, wearing protective garments, such as absorbent underwear or pads, will soak up any expressed urine.
If you are experiencing urinary incontinence, speak with your doctor as soon as possible. Together, you can discuss the best treatment for your individual needs.
Adult Pediatric Urology & Urogynecology, PC Omaha & Council Bluffs | Urologists Omaha
Adult Pediatric Urology, PC have 7 board-certified physicians and an attentive, dedicated staff. We have served Nebraska and Iowa since 1982 with two locations in Omaha and Council Bluffs. Our Omaha location includes an accredited outpatient surgical center with state-of-the-art equipment and a comfortable waiting area just minutes from Interstate 680. Our physicians successfully perform hundreds of traditional and no-scalpel vasectomies every year.
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