Female Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is a condition in women where there is a loss of control in managing the flow of urine from your body.
Approximately 17 million women in the U.S. encounter urinary incontinence in their lifetime. This condition can occur in women between the ages of 18 and 60 and beyond and is usually a result of the urethra not being closed tightly to keep urine in the bladder.
Symptoms vary from:
- Inability to prevent leaking urine when exercising or other involuntary actions such as coughing or sneezing
- An overwhelming urge to urinate that often causes them to urinate before getting to a bathroom.
Dr. Quanita Crable has extensive experience diagnosing and treating female urinary incontinence. Dr. Crable will take the time to fully assess your symptoms in order to determine the treatment option that is right for you. Call (469) 364-3764 to request an appointment at our gynecology office in Dallas, TX today!
Treatment Options for Urinary Incontinence
There are several treatment options available for women in Dallas to consider. Talk with Dr. Crable to see which is best suited for you.
Behavior modification is used to train one’s bladder and sphincter muscles by decreasing fluid intake and by prompting or scheduling voiding.
Pelvic muscle exercises
Called Kegel exercises, these exercises commonly are intended to strengthen weak muscles surrounding the bladder.
Basically, these are pads undergarments designed to absorb leaked urine.
These tubes are inserted into the urethra to collect urine into an external drainage bag. These are generally left in place 24 hours a day.
Called a Pessary, this device is designed to apply pressure to help reposition the urethra permitting it to close tightly. It features a stiff ring that is inserted into the vagina to exert pressure press against the wall of the vagina and urethra.
Bulking agents such as collagen are injected directly into the urethral lining to firm and bulk up the urethral lining so that the urethra can close more tightly.
There are several medications to treat incontinence caused by the urge to continually void. Where incontinence is stress-related, there are no medications to treat this. For incontinence caused by a combination of both urge and stress, drug therapy may help treat the urge component.
Urge Incontinence Treatment
Sometimes known as an overactive bladder, urge incontinence has the potential to completely disrupt a person’s life. The frequent need to urinate, sometimes at inopportune moments, can lead to a loss of confidence, sleep and even intimacy with a partner. An overactive bladder becomes categorized as urge incontinence when this issue causes a person to involuntarily leak urine.
Dr. Quanita Crable is a board-certified OBGYN specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of urge incontinence in women. To schedule a consultation at our gynecology office in Dallas, TX, please call (469) 364-3764 to get started on a urge incontinence treatment plan right away.
Overactive Bladder & Urge Incontinence Symptoms
Some people find that they may need to urinate more frequently due to factors such as drinking too much water or consuming a diuretic like coffee. These issues may temporarily lead to more frequent urination, but a person who has true symptoms of urge incontinence will feel the following signs on a consistent basis:
- A Sudden Urge to Urinate. A person with urge incontinence will often find themselves feeling the sudden and overwhelming need to urinate at random times during the day. The urge is sudden and will occur regardless of how much and how recently the person has had a drink.
- Frequent Urination. In a person with normal bladder function, urination occurs no more than eight times in a 24 hour period. A person who has an urge incontinence will need to visit the restroom more times than that and in some cases, may only release a small amount of urine at a time.
- Disrupted Sleep. It is normal to occasionally awaken during the night to urinate, but in people with urge incontinence, the issue is more consistent. Sufferers often wake up during the night one to two times to urinate on an almost nightly basis.
Urge Incontinence Causes
To understand what can cause an urge incontinence, it’s important to know how the the urinary system works:
- The kidneys produce urine which then drains into the bladder.
- When the bladder fills, nerve signals are transmitted to the brain, eventually causing the urge to urinate.
- When the person is ready to urinate, the brain sends signals to the muscles around the pelvic floor and urethra to allow the urine to be released.
When there is a malfunction in any steps of this process, issues such as urge incontinence can arise. The following issues are among the most common causes of urge incontinence:
- Neurological dysfunction
- Medication side effects
- Bladder abnormalities or growths
- Age-related cognitive function decline
Testing & Diagnosis
Your doctor can perform a variety of tests to determine which will help them get a better idea of what may be causing symptoms. The most common tests that are performed include:
- Urine Volume Test. After urinating, the doctor will measure the amount of urine that is left inside of the bladder. This will help determine if leftover urine is causing symptoms that are nearly identical to an overactive bladder.
- Urine Flow Measurement. The doctor will measure the volume of urine and the speed at which the urine is leaving the urethra. This test will help them identify any possible issues caused by blockages or abnormalities.
- Bladder Pressure Test. The doctor will slowly fill the bladder with warm water. A pressure sensor will be used to measure changes in the patient’s bladder pressure. This will help identify any involuntary muscle contractions or a bladder that is not able to store urine at low pressure.
Your Treatment Options
The first two steps in the treatment process include behavior modifications such as pelvic exercises or changes in diet, and medications that can help reduce the urge to go. But, when those options fail to relieve symptoms, other treatments may be necessary.
This option uses a small device that is implanted under the skin in order to control the electric pulses to the sacral nerves. The sacral nerves help transmit messages from the bladder to the brain. Before a permanent device is placed under the skin, a temporary device is clipped to the patient’s belt and used for a few weeks to determine if this is a viable treatment option.
Bladder injections are sometimes chosen to partially paralyze the muscles around the bladder. Typically these treatments are effective for approximately five months before another injection is needed.
Surgery is often a last resort for those with bladder issues. The goal of bladder surgery is to improve the bladder’s ability to more effectively retain urine and reduce the amount of unnecessary pressure felt before urinating.