Gain control of your bladder and get back to life.
Although we have posted similar blogs in the past, this article was recently published by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and we wanted to share it with our Accidental Sisterhood followers:
It’s a problem millions of women experience but often fail to mention to their health care provider: urinary incontinence or loss of bladder control. Loss of bladder control, urinary incontinence (UI), affects about 40 percent of women.
“Although many women may find it embarrassing to talk about bladder control problems with their health care provider, they should know about the many treatment options available to them,” says Ray Bologna, MD, MBA, a urologist at Cleveland Clinic Medina Medical Office Building.
There are three main types of UI:
- Stress incontinence: urine leakage that results from pressure on the bladder by an activity such as exercise, sneezing or coughing. It can also occur during pregnancy.
- Urge incontinence: also known as overactive bladder (OAB), is a sudden, intense need to urinate followed by urine loss. It is associated with aging, neurologic diseases such as Parkinson’s, and menopause which affects the health of the bladder and urethra.
- Mixed incontinence: the most common problem, a combination of both stress and urge incontinence. Often these patients require treatment for both problems.
Fortunately, there are a number of effective treatment options. For stress UI, practicing Kegel exercises, which strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, can help control urination. Pelvic floor exercises can be done on your own or with our specially trained pelvic floor therapists. Another conservative approach is a pessary or small device that provides support to the urethra. “In more severe cases, surgical placement of a sling around the urethra may be necessary. Slings are a minimally invasive outpatient procedure” explains Dr. Bologna.
There are numerous medications that can help control urge UI. Dr. Bologna recommends estrogen cream to reduce urgency. Botox injections, done in the office or the operating room, relax the bladder muscle and can reduce urge incontinence. “Another option for urge UI is electrical stimulation or InterStim Therapy, a pacemaker like unit which helps control urinary urgency and urge incontinence,” says Dr. Bologna.
He also recommends making simple changes in your daily routine:
- Limit beverages and foods that increase urination, such as caffeinated drinks.
- Empty your bladder regularly, especially before physical activity.
- Schedule urination every few hours instead of waiting for the urge.
- Reducing weight can improve urinary urgency, urge incontinence, and stress incontinence.
“It’s important to see a urologist if bladder control problems are affecting your daily activities,” says Dr. Bologna. “We can help patients gain control of their bladder and achieve a better quality of life.”