Female Urinary Incontinence is More Common Than You Think

Women often experience an extreme urge to urinate or they may leak a little urine when they laugh, sneeze, or exercise. Urinary incontinence can often seem embarrassing or frustrating, but it’s a normal condition.

Research says that up to 25 percent of young women, 44-57 percent of middle-aged women (including post-menopausal women), and 75 percent of elderly women experience some involuntary urine loss. Compared to men, the percentage of women with urinary incontinence is much higher, but it doesn’t have to stay that way — there are strategies to fight it, and the team at OBGYN Care can help.

Varieties of urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence isn’t just a singular problem. You may suffer from one of the different types or a combination of types. Sometimes, incontinence results from a functional reason — such as arthritis. The problem can usually be summed up by saying that another health condition stops you from getting to the bathroom in time, even though you’re aware you need to go.

Urge incontinence results from abnormal contractions of the bladder muscle. You feel an immediate, intense urge to use the restroom followed by an involuntary loss of urine. This kind of urge incontinence can occur as a result of a urinary tract infection or because of a condition you have, such as diabetes.

Stress incontinence refers to leaking that occurs in response to pressure, or stress, on your bladder, such as when you laugh, lift something heavy, or sneeze. Stress incontinence can come about because pregnancy and childbirth can cause mild damage to your pelvic muscles, or it can simply occur as a result of aging.

Overflow incontinence is another type that occurs when you have a constant dribble of urine, even after you’ve used the restroom. This usually means you have a bladder that doesn’t empty out fully when you go to the bathroom.

Why incontinence happens

Women are more susceptible to developing urinary incontinence due to the stress of pregnancy and childbirth. The weight of a child in your belly can add pressure to the muscles that cause stress incontinence to occur. Labor and delivery can also weaken muscles responsible for holding your urine and make you vulnerable to organ prolapse — when the bladder, uterus, or small intestine get pushed down into your vagina.

As you age, uncontrollable contractions of the bladder tend to happen more often, and your bladder’s capacity can shrink as well. Menopausal women produce less estrogen, a hormone that promotes bladder lining and urethra health. A woman who’s had a hysterectomy may experience incontinence because the procedure may affect pelvic floor muscles that support and promote healthy bladder control.

There is help

Urinary incontinence is common, but at OBGYN CARE, we’re available to decrease or resolve your symptoms. Sometimes your urges to urinate can be reduced by a step as simple as changing what you eat (drinking less caffeine, for example).

Other lifestyle changes, such as learning to double void, or urinate and then wait a few minutes and urinate again, helps. You can also manage your incontinence and make incidents less frequent if you schedule your trips to the bathroom and work on bladder training.

Vaginal support devices such as pessaries and slings may help in more severe cases. Physical therapy that builds up the muscles of the pelvic floor to help you better control the contractions of the bladder and support urges also helps. Sometimes, the best solution is a surgical strategy.

We review all the possible treatments for your urinary incontinence to help restore a normal quality of life and reduce embarrassing incidents.

Call our office at OBGYN CARE or schedule a consultation using our website to get real, practical, and effective solutions to your incontinence problems. 

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