Urinary incontinence is very common, especially among women, with around one in three affected at some point in life. Scientific studies now show that genetic factors can explain about 50% of urinary incontinence susceptibility.
Incontinence, overactive bladder, and other lower urinary tract symptoms can also be caused by factors such as aging, excess weight, pregnancy and childbirth, as well as stroke and other neurological disorders.
With more than 200 million people in the world suffering every day from involuntary bladder leakage, urinary incontinence is not something to be embarrassed about. Neither is it a condition you must expect to deal with because of your age.
Treatment for urinary incontinence depends on the type of problem, its causes and the severity of symptoms. Before suggesting invasive procedures, your physician may recommend Kegel exercises or behavioral changes and lifestyle remedies.
In this video, Dr. Mulholland talks about the causes, types, and treatments for female incontinence. Because bladder control problems may also be a sign of something more serious, such as an infection, tumor, heart problems, or depression, women are strongly advised to speak to their doctors or schedule an appointment with a urologist.
Incontinence in women is a major problem. One type of incontinence is called stress incontinence and usually childbirth can cause that, or just age. That’s leaking with coughing, laughing, lifting things, sneezing, or other activities that put stress pressure on the bladder. The women lack the outlet pressure anymore, so it just leaks out to varying degrees. It may be mild. It may be a lot more significant and life altering where we do have to do something about it. We have treatments for stress incontinence. Typically, most involve surgery, and there’s several different aspects of the surgery we have to talk about and determine if they’re a candidate.
Another type of incontinence is called urgency or urge incontinence or overactive bladder. Typically, we do need to evaluate the woman and make sure she’s emptying her bladder, look at her pelvic anatomy, talk to her about her urinary symptoms, make sure there’s no infections. If we determine that, that is her primary significant incontinence, typically we start with medicines. And to varying degrees, there’s lots of different medications. Some of them do have side effects so we like to monitor those. And if those aren’t working or the medicines are causing too many side effects, there are different treatments, either injections into the bladder or a bladder pacemaker or other treatments that we can offer if the urgency and overactive bladder is refractory to the medication.
There are also other types of incontinence. One of them would be overflow incontinence, where the woman just has too full of a bladder. That may be because her bladder doesn’t work very well. That may be because of medications. That may be because of pelvic anatomy. We’re able to determine that and try to figure out a plan and a course of action, because ultimately the goal in treating female incontinence is to improve their life with less side effects.
We’re a one-stop-shop for female incontinence because we can do everything. We can evaluate. We can do bladder scans in the office, check urinalysis, do pelvic exams. And then we have the full range of treatments also, including medications, surgical treatments and urodynamics, which is special testing to help us evaluate further difficult cases.
As a female, some women don’t think you come to a urologist for incontinence, but we’re the main incontinence doctors, and always have been. Some other specialties dabble in that, but we provide full service, and we see a lot of success.