Overcome Female Urinary Incontinence with These Treatments
Urinary incontinence in women is more than just a medical problem.
Any woman who is suffering from urinary incontinence knows that this disease affects you emotionally, psychologically, and puts many restraints and limits on our lives. Many out there with female urinary incontinence are afraid to participate in activities because they can never be too far away from a bathroom, for fear of the dreaded “accident.” But, just as there are numerous causes of urinary incontinence, there are also many treatment options available, so don’t lose hope!
Learn more about the symptoms of this condition and how to treat urinary incontinence below.
Female Urinary Incontinence Symptoms
Incontinence is an umbrella term, as there are five types with their own set of symptoms. If you have already been diagnosed with incontinence, a lot of these symptoms will look familiar. On the other hand, if you notice you experience any of these and haven’t talked with a doctor about them, we recommend scheduling an appointment with a urologist.
- Bladder leakage
- Frequent urination
- Changes in the appearance, odor, or color of your urine
- Involuntary leakage due to pressure on the bladder
- A sudden, strong urge to urinate
- Feeling like you can’t empty your bladder
Treatment Options for Female Urinary Incontinence
Here are some of the main treatments for urinary incontinence in women:
Behavior Modification for Mild to Moderate Urinary Incontinence
Depending on the severity level of a women’s urinary incontinence, it can often be treated with behavior modification techniques. These include decreasing the amount of fluid intake, and eliminating bladder irritants such as caffeine. Scheduling trips to the bathroom can also be helpful to prevent leaking and eliminate accidents. If you are unsure of how to implement these into your daily routine, speak with your urologist.
Pelvic Muscle Training, aka Kegel Exercises
There are pelvic exercises, known as Kegel exercises, that a woman can do to strengthen her pelvic and sphincter muscles. These exercises involve learning to isolate the muscles involved with your urinary tract and repeatedly contracting them several times a day. Over time, the muscles will strengthen and properly function better. Some women find it helpful to receive biofeedback, which is electrical stimulation to the pelvic muscles, or even the use of weighted cones in order to learn how to isolate these muscles and perform the exercises correctly. While these exercises can feel strange, they can do wonders for treating female urinary incontinence.
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This treatment can be used to treat men and women suffering from urinary incontinence. With periurethral injections, a bulking agent is injected around the urethra and bladder neck in order to assist in the closing of the urethral mucosa. These injections are performed under local anesthesia with the use of a cystoscope and a small needle. Fortunately, this surgical option is minimally invasive and can be performed several times, as needed. However, the cure rate with this treatment is only about 10 to 30 percent.
The most common surgical treatment for stress urinary incontinence is the suburethral sling procedure. This treatment, often called TVT or TOT, involves creating a sling, or some type of support under the urethra to improve urethral closure. This sling can be created using donated tissue from a cadaver, autologous tissue from your own body, or a synthetic material. This operation is minimally invasive, and patients typically recuperate quickly. Patients should be aware that symptoms may return after several years.
Retropubic colposuspension is a surgical treatment where the vaginal or periurethral tissues are affixed to the pubic bone. Though the long term results of this surgery are positive, it is more invasive than the suburethral sling surgery, and there is usually a longer recovery time. For these reasons, retropubic colposuspension for female urinary incontinence is usually performed when there are other abdominal surgeries required. This procedure can also be done laparoscopically which is less invasive than an open surgery, but not as successful long term. You and your urologist can discuss the two types of surgery to see which one will work best for you.
Bladder Neck Needle Suspension
During this surgical treatment, a long needle is used to thread sutures from the vagina to the abdominal wall. The suture connects paraurethral tissue at the bladder neck to help stabilize the urethra. This procedure is known to be less effective than retropubic colposuspension and sling procedures, so it is rarely the procedure of choice for most urologists today.
Anterior Vaginal Repair
Anterior vaginal repair is meant to tighten the walls of the vagina and support the pelvic floor overall. This treatment requires suturing the periurethral tissue and fascia in order to elevate and support the bladder neck. As with the bladder neck needle suspension, this procedure is rarely used as it also has less favorable results than retropubic colposuspension and sling procedures.
What We Can Do To Treat Female Urinary Incontinence
With modern treatment options available, there is no reason for women with urinary incontinence to suffer in silence with this disease.
If you are trying to find out how to treat urinary incontinence, a discussion with your urologist will always be the first step. During your appointment, you will need to provide your doctor with your detailed medical history. From there, they will perform a medical exam, in addition to other possible diagnostic techniques such as a urinalysis to help you to determine the best course of treatment for your urinary incontinence. The ultimate goal is that you can eventually lead a full, accident-free life. Schedule an appointment with one of our urologists via the button below to get started on treating your incontinence.