There are several different types of urinary incontinence, but the most common is called stress incontinence. If you leak urine when you cough, or lift something heavy, or if sneezes feel dangerous, you likely have stress incontinence.
Although no one enjoys talking about how they sometimes leak a bit of urine, Dr. Parisa Pourzand and her staff understand. If you’re experiencing urinary incontinence, we encourage you to discuss it with Dr. Pourzand. Effective treatments exist, but your doctor needs to know that you’re having a problem.
The causes of stress incontinence
Women tend to experience urinary incontinence far more often than men. Part of the reason for that is that women who have been pregnant and given birth may have weaker pelvic floor muscles. These important muscles support the organs in your pelvis, including your bladder.
When your pelvic floor muscles are weak, and you do anything that puts pressure on your bladder, like coughing or exercising, the muscles don’t have the strength to hold your urethra closed tightly enough. Other things that can lead to urinary incontinence include aging, pelvic organ prolapse, trauma or injury, or hormonal changes related to menopause.
Dr. Pourzand develops a treatment plan for you based on an array of factors, including your age, the severity of the problem, your lifestyle, other medical issues you have, just to name a few. Usually, treatments begin conservatively and progress as needed. You may begin by making some changes to your lifestyle, but in the end surgery could be the best option.
Some people find that managing how much and when they eat and drink helps. Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, or very acidic foods may be the solution. You may need to reduce the among of liquid you drink.
If you’re overweight, losing the extra pounds could help. Increasing your level of physical activity could also be beneficial.
Often, strengthening your pelvic floor muscles is the best approach to stopping urinary incontinence. Dr. Pourzand can help you understand what exercises to do and how often, or she may suggest that you see a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor issues.
In some instances, medication could be the best approach. Some medications help to calm an overactive bladder, some can help treat urge incontinence, which is when you suddenly feel an urgent need to urinate and may not make it to the bathroom in time.
For women who have experienced menopause, topical estrogen could be a good way to treat urinary incontinence. Using a cream, ring, or patch to deliver estrogen could help to rejuvenate the tissues that surround your urethra.
A urethral insert or a pessary could be the right way to solve your issue. A urethral insert works like a tampon and is useful for specific activities. For example, if you leak urine when you run, a urethral insert could help.
A pessary is a ring made of silicone that supports your urethra. It’s inserted into your vagina and worn throughout the day and can prevent leaks.
In some cases, Dr. Pourzand may suggest injecting a synthetic material into the tissue that surrounds your urethra. That material supports the urethra and helps it stay closed when it should. In cases of overactive bladder, botox injections could be appropriate.
If other treatment approaches don’t work well enough, you may benefit from surgery. There are several different techniques for incontinence, including a sling procedure where a synthetic material or your own tissue is used to create a supportive sling for your bladder, and a bladder neck suspension, which provides support for the area where your urethra and bladder meet.
Dr. Pourzand always explains your options and helps you understand both the underlying problem causing your leakage, as well as why she suggests specific treatments. But the important thing for you to know is that you don’t have to limit your life because you’re embarrassed by urinary leaking.
Schedule your appointment today to learn more about what treatments might work best for you.