Do you leark urine?
This is question that all women should be asked at their annual examinations.
Some women believe that it is just part of getting older and that they have to live with the often times embarrassing quality of life issue for women.
The two most common types of incontinence are treated differently so it is important to differentiate what conditions exist when the leaking occurs. Some women have both types of incontinence and they are diagnosed with a “mixed” picture and may need a combination of treatment. Urge incontinence is most often treated with medication (Most of us have seen the “gotta go” ads by pharmaceutical companies). Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is better treated with physical therapy or surgery.
Urge incontinence is the type of incontinence associated with urgency and frequent urination. Women experience a strong/frequent “urge” to urinate, with very little control to prevent a leak. With Urge incontinence the bladder contracts on its own without a signal from the brain. When the bladder fills up with a certain volume of urine there is very little time between the urge and getting to the bathroom. Women who experience urge incontinence often start to leak while they are trying to make it to the restroom.
Stress incontinence occurs when urine leaks as a result of an increase in abdominal pressure. Stress incontinent symptoms usually occur at times of activity or movement (ie, coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising, or quick changes in position like sitting to standing.) There is a weakness in the bladder angle or hypermobility of the urethra that leads to stress urinary incontinence. This can occur as a result of pregnancy and delivery, but also is relatively common in female atheletes.
Thankfully, there are treatment options available, and can range from behavioral treatments and physical therapy to medications (more effectively used for Urge incontinence), or minimally invasive surgical option (used to support the urethral in cases of Stress incontinence.)