Continence Care: Understanding the Problem

Urinary incontinence is the uncontrolled release of urine, a common condition that affects nearly 13 million adults in America today – an estimated 85% of them women. Incontinence is not a disease, but a symptom of a medical problem involving the lower urinary tract. For most people, incontinence is very treatable. 

Understanding Your Problem

There are many ways that women and men experience urine control issues, and understanding your type of incontinence is the first step toward a solution. Keep in mind that incontinence is a symptom of an underlying cause, and that our staff will seek to treat the cause, as well as the condition.

Stress Incontinence

The most common type of incontinence: with a loss of urine with activities such as coughing, exercising and laughing. Any activity that increases pressure on the bladder will cause a urine leak. Many people go years without telling their physician or loved ones about this form of incontinence, because they don’t realize that it’s a treatable condition.

Urge Incontinence (Overactive Bladder)

In this situation the bladder muscle contracts spontaneously, causing a sudden strong urge to urinate which results in a sudden, uncontrollable rush of urine. With an overactive bladder, you may even feel the urge to urinate when hearing water flow or putting hands in water.

Mixed Incontinence

The combination of Stress Incontinence and Urge Incontinence.

Overflow Incontinence

Usually experienced as a frequent or constant dribble, in which the bladder is unable to empty itself and the urine just “overflows.”

Neurogenic Bladder

A condition in which the nerve supply to the bladder is disrupted, which can cause multiple bladder problems, depending on injury or disease.

Interstitial Cystitis

Usually associated more with pain or pressure relieved by urinating, rather than urine leakage.

Solving The Problem: Incontinence Treatment

 

Evaluation

To receive the best possible treatment, it’s important to talk openly and honestly with a physician at one of Fort HealthCare’s many Urology or Center For Women’s Health locations. Your physician will review your complete medical history and may recommend a physical exam, blood tests, urinalysis and a “diary.” Additional tests may include urodynamic testing to evaluate bladder function and help pinpoint the exact reason for urine loss, as well as cytoscopy, an examination of the bladder using a small camera. Whatever the results are, you have many options for treatment, and the peace of no longer suffering in silence.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Non-surgical treatments may include medications to control overactive bladder problems; physical therapy for pelvic floor rehabilitation (strengthening the pelvic muscles through exercise); behavior modification or bladder retraining; and use of devices such as pessaries for biofeedback.

Surgical Treatments

Surgical treatments are very effective for prolonged cases of incontinence. In most cases, our patients report no leakage after the operation, and added benefits, too. For many, these benefits include increased self-confidence, and enjoying simple pleasures in life like being able laugh more, going to the gym, or resuming activities that they had simply given up.

Surgical options include mid-urethral slings; collagen injections; retropubic suspensions; prolapse surgery for women (such as hysterectomy or anterior repairs); prostate resection for men without obstructive symptoms; and InterStim® Therapy.

For more information about incontinence issues, solutions or to speak to one of our experts, call the Continence Care Program line, 920.568.6575.

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