Enough is Enough—Learning When It’s Time To Visit A Urologist To Treat Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence, or the involuntary leakage of urine, affects thousands of people every year. While it impacts men and women alike, a recent study shows that half of women over the age of 50 experience urinary incontinence symptoms—however most have not visited a urologist.
If your daily life is impacted by the effects of urinary incontinence (UI), it doesn’t have to be. There are options to help you fight UI at home, and with the help of your urologist. In this blog, we discuss:
- Urinary incontinence symptoms
- The UI study results
- How to treat urinary incontinence
It’s important to note that if you are experiencing one or more of the symptoms of urinary incontinence, you should contact your local urologist sooner rather than later. UI can cause emotional and psychological stress, and set restrictions and limitations on your daily life.
Let’s begin by defining what urinary incontinence is and explaining its symptoms.
Common Symptoms Associated With UI
In general, women are more likely to experience urinary incontinence symptoms than men. For UI in women, you’re likely to experience the symptoms associated with either stress incontinence, overflow incontinence, urge incontinence, functional incontinence or mixed incontinence.
The symptoms of UI are typically involuntary urine leaks after physical activity, or the sudden urge to urinate even after recent urination. However, these look a little different depending on what type of urinary incontinence you experience.
5 Types Of Urinary Incontinence
- Stress incontinence is caused by pressure on the bladder when laughing, coughing, sneezing or exercising.
- Overflow incontinence is known as the constant dribbling of urine when the bladder doesn’t empty.
- Urge incontinence is caused by sudden urges to urinate followed by the involuntary leakage of urine.
- Functional incontinence is involuntary urine leakage due to physical or mental impairment.
- Mixed incontinence is a combination of different types of urinary incontinence.
It’s important to visit your urologist to determine what type of urinary incontinence you are experiencing. Your urologist will be able to examine symptoms and recommend next steps and treatment for your individual symptoms. Additionally, a urologist will be able to determine the cause of urinary incontinence, which may be:
- Hormone and weight changes during or after pregnancy
- A weakened pelvic floor
- Estrogen deficiencies after menopause
- Past hysterectomy
- Urinary tract obstruction
- Neurological disorders
Now that we have defined what UI is and its symptoms, let’s dive deeper into the recent study of urinary incontinence.
Urinary Incontinence Poll Results
As we mentioned previously, there was a recent study conducted in 2018 by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation surrounding urinary incontinence. In the poll, over 1,000 women between the ages of 50 and 80 were surveyed. Here are the results:
- 43 percent of women in their 50s and early 60s had experienced symptoms of UI
- In women 65 and older, 51 percent had experienced UI
- Over 60 percent of women who experienced UI said they hadn’t visited a doctor
- Of the women who had experienced UI, 41 percent described it as a major or concerning problem
- To cope with UI, 38 percent of women had completed Kegel exercises to strengthen their pelvic floor, 59 percent had purchased special pads or undergarments, 16 percent cut down on their daily fluid intake, and 15 percent changed what they wore to disguise potential leaks
So, what can we do with this information? It starts with proper urinary incontinence education.
As women age, health concerns such as urinary incontinence become more of a reality. In order to educate women about urinary incontinence, they must be aware of its symptoms, effects and treatments.
While reduced fluid intake, pads and dark clothing are ways of coping with UI, they don’t treat UI. Women should be able to live freely and with confidence, especially as they age. Simply coping with urinary incontinence and seeking quick fixes shouldn’t be the only solution! Which is why it’s so important to work with a urologist to determine an effective treatment option.
7 Treatment Options For Women Living With UI
For women, there are multiple treatment options for urinary incontinence. At Urology Specialists of the Carolinas, we offer these seven UI treatments:
This is an injectable treatment for urinary incontinence, often giving patients quick and noticeable improvement.
2. Urethral Sling Surgery
A procedure used to lift the urethra back into normal position, preventing leakage.
3. Pelvic Physical Therapy
This type of therapy includes Kegels, which are great for strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, helping control the flow of urine. The best part? You can perform Kegels anywhere, anytime, and very easily.
Medication may be prescribed to relax the bladder muscle when behavioral methods have been unsuccessful. Relaxing the bladder keeps it from involuntarily contracting, helping to eliminate leaks.
Botox relaxes bladder muscles that contract too often, eliminating the constant urge to go.
6. Posterior Tibial Nerve Stimulation
This method of treatment sends electrical impulses to stimulate the sacral plexus, strengthening the muscles that control the bladder.
Using a small, surgically implanted device, the sacral plexus (a network of nerve fibers) is stimulated, strengthening the muscles that control the bladder.
Related Post: A Woman’s Guide To Treating Urinary Incontinence
Each of these treatment options are unique, and used to treat different types and severities of urinary incontinence. While Kegel exercises may help, and are something to definitely practice at home regardless, it may not be enough to alleviate or eliminate urinary incontinence symptoms. If a procedure is required, it will be minimally invasive, allowing you to return to your regular schedule quickly.
Deciding to visit a urologist is the first step to putting an end to urinary incontinence symptoms. We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again—you do not have to live a life impacted by urinary incontinence.
Treat Urinary Incontinence: Schedule A Visit With Us
If you or a loved one has been experiencing the symptoms of urinary incontinence, it’s time to schedule a visit with our team.
Our board-certified urologists will listen to your symptoms, and work with you to determine next steps for UI treatment. You are simply one call away from treating urinary incontinence once and for all—trust our team to help you achieve a healthy, leak-free life once again!
Have questions or looking for additional resources? We can help with those, too. In our Nutrition & Lifestyle Guide, we discuss healthy habits that will help improve your urological health and lifestyle. Download your free guide below!