Urinary incontinence (UI) is a common issue that affects about twice as many women as men. Pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause are often contributors, and generally getting older increases your risk of developing UI, but it’s not an inevitable part of the aging process.
Many women find the condition embarrassing, so much so that they avoid bringing up the subject with their health care providers. That’s unfortunate since there are plenty of treatment options, many with high success rates. It’s not a health issue you need to live with.
The doctors at OBGYN Care in Newport Beach and Irvine, California, are incontinence specialists. If UI is affecting your life, book a consultation to discuss your issues with the experts. Regardless of the origin of your problem, there’s a solution.
Causes of UI
There are different types of UI, and your problems may be temporary or chronic. Many women experience UI as their bodies recover from pregnancy and childbirth, a common time for stress incontinence, when laughing or sneezing overwhelms the weakened muscles that control the urethral sphincters.
Weakened tissue is also a factor with UI that emerges later in life. Pelvic floor strength permits the shifting of organs, changing the direction of forces, while low levels of estrogen that accompany perimenopause and menopause create changes in pelvic tissue.
Nerve issues may also contribute, causing overactive bladder muscles and contributing to urge incontinence, the sudden sensation that you need to urinate, often accompanied by the inability to fully hold back a urine stream.
Complications from UI
Embarrassment is only one of the side effects of UI. Frequent, chronic UI can cause rashes and skin infections due to wet skin. Urinary tract infections may increase in number, too. Simply dealing with frequent UI incidents can disrupt your ability to concentrate on work or fully enjoy social settings.
Home care for UI
Depending on the causes of your incontinence, you may be able to help your body regain control. Pelvic floor exercises like Kegels help to tone some of the muscles that support bladder function.
You can also avoid typical bladder irritants, including alcohol, acidic foods, and caffeine. Being constipated can contribute to some types of incontinence, so increasing your fiber intake may prove helpful.
Maintaining a healthy weight is also good for your bladder since extra pounds could contribute to the strain on your bladder, depending on where your body stores this extra mass. Smokers are also more likely to suffer from incontinence, so add this to your list of reasons to quit, if you use tobacco products.
As well as prevention, there are a wide range of medical treatments for urinary incontinence. These include:
- Behavioral approaches: as well as pelvic floor muscle training, other techniques can help you regain control
- Medications: drugs that help bladder muscles relax, including botulinum toxin treatments, reduce overactive bladder symptoms
- Hormone therapy: low-dose topical estrogen is helpful, while estrogen in pill form usually isn’t
- Medical devices: including pessaries or urethral inserts
- Surgical solutions: usually used to correct pelvic organ prolapse affecting the bladder
The best solution for you depends on the factors causing your incontinence. Contact OBGYN Care at the nearest office to arrange a consultation and examination. You can call the office or request an appointment online. Urinary incontinence should not be a worry for you.