Female urinary incontinence is no laughing matter — especially when it’s laughing that triggers an embarrassing accident.
If you’ve curtailed your social life due to fear of leakage problems, you’re not alone. The problem affects one in four women; the older you get, the higher your risk. Leakage problems affect 75% of women over 65 years of age.
Another disheartening statistic: Of all the women who experience leakage problems weekly, only 45% of them approach their physicians to discuss it because they feel self-conscious about broaching the topic.
Fortunately, there is relief from the stress and discomfort that accompany leakage problems. Dr. Kevin Hooker and our Lake Havasu OB/GYN Care team provide expert care for women experiencing incontinence — as well as a range of obstetric and gynecologic issues — and always with warmth and understanding.
There’s more than one type of female urinary incontinence
It’s important to note that there are several types of urinary incontinence in women:
- Stress incontinence is when pressure causes your leakage, like when you laugh, cough or sneeze, or lift a heavy object.
- Urge incontinence occurs when you realize you have to urinate quite suddenly and then leak involuntarily. Often women with this problem simply don’t make it to the bathroom in time. You might notice you need to go to the bathroom frequently, even at night. You can be at higher risk for this type of incontinence if your body is fighting an infection or if you have certain chronic conditions, like diabetes or a neurological disease.
- Functional incontinence happens when you’re dealing with a cognitive condition like dementia that makes you unable to go to the bathroom promptly when you need to, or a physical disability, like severe osteoarthritis that prevents you from getting to the bathroom in time. In other words, your bladder functions normally, but you might have a problem remembering where the bathroom is or accessing it in time.
- Overflow incontinence occurs when your bladder doesn’t empty fully, so you’re left with frequent or constant dribbling of urine.
- Mixed incontinence is when you experience a mixture of different types of incontinence. Many women suffer from a combination of urge and stress incontinence.
Getting clear on your symptoms allows you to give complete information to Dr. Hooker, so he can determine your type or types of incontinence and customize your treatment plan as much as possible.
Women at higher risk for incontinence problems are pregnant women, those who have given birth vaginally, and those with prolapse problems (when your bladder, uterus, small intestine, or rectum ends up protruding from your uterus). Postmenopausal women are prone to leaking due to lower estrogen production, which weakens the lining of your urethra and bladder.
There IS help for your incontinence problem
Since Dr. Hooker encourages open, honest communication with every patient, you should feel comfortable sharing problems like this with him. There are several effective treatments for female urinary incontinence.
Conservative solutions include:
- Bladder training involves noting when you need to go, how much you drink, and when leaks happen. After some time, patterns emerge that Dr. Hooker can analyze. Then you work on a plan to increase how much time elapses between trips to the bathroom, but you work at it in small increments of just five or 10 minutes. This helps to stretch your bladder.
- Urgency suppression is when you use distraction techniques to postpone urination, including Kegel exercises or even meditation to retrain your body.
- Double voiding involves going to the bathroom and urinating twice in close succession. This ensures that you get rid of all the urine and lessens the chance of a leak.
1. Believe it or not, Botox®, known for smoothing facial wrinkles, can also ease incontinence. You receive injections in the wall of your bladder, which is numbed beforehand, reducing leakage-causing bladder spasms.
2. Dr. Hooker may recommend an obliterative surgical procedure, colpocleisis, that narrows your vagina if you are dealing with prolapse issues.
3. A treatment that has proven especially helpful for treating stress incontinence is the pessary. It’s a rubber or silicone ring inserted into the vagina, offering support to your pelvic organs.
4. Dr. Hooker also offers a noninvasive treatment called MonaLisa Touch® that encourages the production of important connective tissue proteins, collagen and elastin, which has successfully treated female urinary incontinence.
Patients favor this treatment because it’s comfortable, quick, and effective. Dr. Hooker carefully inserts a small handheld device into your vagina that gently heats your vaginal tissues.
You no longer need to endure life-limiting leakage problems. Call our office to schedule an appointment at 928-683-1668 or request one online.