Even when you’re feeling fine, skipping an annual well woman exam will put you at risk later. Early screenings can detect and prevent several types of cancer, and your visit is the ideal time to ask questions and learn more about your health.
Have you been suffering due to urinary incontinence? This inconvenient and often embarrassing issue isn’t a popular topic of conversation. However, if your quality of life has diminished due to issues of bladder control, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Urinary incontinence is a very common condition that affects many women. It’s also often misunderstood because there can be so many causes. In some instances, a visible cause can’t even be found. If you’ve been living with urinary incontinence, there is hope. It’s time to speak with your gynecologist.
The facts on urinary incontinence
Urinary incontinence is an umbrella term for a variety of issues related to bladder control. There are a few specific types of urinary incontinence and your own individual experience will differ from someone else’s. Some women will experience some minor leakage under certain conditions, while others will actually saturate their clothing with regularity. No matter the severity of your individual situation, it’s important to know the facts about this complicated condition.
Here are a few ways that incontinence can manifest. Stress incontinence (the most common type) is the kind that often develops following multiple pregnancies, though that isn’t the only cause. With stress incontinence, you’ll experience urges to urinate and actual urination when pressure is exerted. This can be from lifting heavy objects, to laughing too hard, to even sneezing.
The second most common type is urge incontinence. Unlike stress incontinence, there are no trigger stimuli like excessive pressure due to activity. Instead, there is a near constant feeling of needing to void your bladder and often you won’t be able to control it, resulting in wetting. Not only do you want to speak to your gynecologist because this condition can make it difficult to live your life, but it can also be a symptom of a more serious illness. While the fact you have urinary incontinence doesn’t necessarily mean it’s being caused by something more sinister, you should get illnesses ruled out as a cause. Some medical conditions that have urinary incontinence as a cause include neurological diseases like Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis, diabetes, or stroke.
Other types of incontinence are overflow incontinence where urine dribbles because you can’t empty your bladder completely. There may be a muscular issue present which makes it difficult for you to void completely when going to the bathroom. The other is functional incontinence where a physical or mental impairment stops you from making it to the bathroom on time to go. If you don’t have full function of a leg or suffer from arthritis, your incontinence may be secondary to your primary condition.
No matter what specific type or types of incontinence you suffer from, you want answers and relief. Making an appointment with your gynecologist to discuss your treatment options is the important first step you need to take to improve your life. The specific cause of your incontinence will dictate the exact treatment path that will be followed. However, generally speaking there are a variety of treatments that are typically tried when trying to improve bladder control.
The first approach is non-surgical and will rely on exercises like Kegels. A strengthening of your pelvic muscles might be all you need, or it could seriously reduce your symptoms. Noninvasive treatment is always preferable. However, for many women exercises alone may not be enough.
If you suffer from stress incontinence, your gynecologist may opt for vaginal mesh as a treatment. This is minimally invasive and is done in one day as outpatient surgery. This tension free vaginal tape adds extra support to the urethra so that it stays closed during sudden exertions like coughing or sneezing. A pubovaginal sling uses your own tissue to create cradle for the bladder neck and urethra. Your doctor may also opt for a laparoscopy that inserts stitches that anchor the neck of the bladder and urethra to a ligament under your pubic bone for fortified support.
Urge incontinence is treated a bit differently. Medication will often be the first course of treatment. Some women might respond so positively to medication that it’s all they need. If more treatment is needed, your doctor may go further by recommending a Botox injection in the bladder wall, non-surgical nerve stimulation that is performed in the office, or implanting a device similar to a pacemaker that will provide continuous stimulation. Treatment won’t look the same for everyone and you may go through multiple ones before finding relief.
If you’re concerned about your bladder control and have been suffering due to urinary incontinence, there’s no reason to keep going through it. Your gynecologist can walk you through the process of establishing a cause and providing you with the proper treatment. Contact us today to make an appointment. It’s time to get your life back.
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