Incontinence — usually associated with leaking urine, frequent urges to urinate, an inability to hold it until you reach a toilet and the feeling of not fully emptying your bladder — delivers a quiet form of embarrassment. But urinary incontinence can be treated. Open up to your doctor at Century Medical and Dental in Brooklyn. The details matter, since there are multiple types of the condition. CalSurgeries, includingl now and put those embarrassing episodes behind you.
As a small child, you successfully navigated a rite of passage when you were toilet-trained. Unfortunately, as you age or deal with diseases and medical conditions that affect your bladder, it’s common to find yourself dealing with incontinence all over again. Its severity ranges from an occasional leak when you sneeze, laugh or cough to not being able to hold your urine long enough to get to a bathroom.
Urinary incontinence is common as you age, but it’s not inevitable or incurable. Often, treatment and lifestyle changes reduce or eliminate your symptoms successfully. An honest discussion with your doctor at Century Medical and Dental Center about your symptoms and their effect on your daily life helps you both find the best treatment for your incontinence and reduce embarrassing frustrations.
Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence
Part of the reason you need a complete discussion of your symptoms with your doctor is due to the different types of urinary incontinence. Your symptoms may dictate different treatment options. The various types of incontinence include:
- Urge incontinence. Infections, neurologic disorders and diabetes cause a feeling of needing to urinate suddenly and urgently. You have little or no control to hold it until you make it to the bathroom.
- Stress incontinence. Any kind of pressure placed on your bladder or surrounding systems may result in leakage. This type of pressure or stress occurs when you sneeze, laugh, cough, exercise or lift objects.
- Functional incontinence. Mental or physical limitations make it hard to get to the bathroom in time. Arthritis often makes it hard to remove clothing quickly enough.
- Overflow incontinence. As you age or after surgery, it’s common to experience conditions that keep the bladder from completely emptying when you visit the bathroom. Later, you experience dribbling from leftover urine in your bladder. This also affects women who’ve had one or more pregnancies.
- Mixed incontinence. You may find yourself experiencing a mix of incontinence types. For example, you may be an older woman, fighting arthritis and have a slightly tipped bladder from having three full term pregnancies when you were younger.
Urinary incontinence is a symptom of some other underlying cause or condition. It’s not a disease by itself. Habits, physical problems and medical conditions all contribute to incontinence. Other factors that may contribute to the severity of your incontinence include:
- Certain foods and drinks. Caffeine, carbonated drinks, alcohol, chocolate, artificial sweeteners, foods high in sugar, spices, citric acid and chili peppers all trigger your body’s urine production and output.
- Supplements. Large doses of vitamin C and other medications, such as blood pressure drugs, muscle relaxants and sedatives contribute to the overstimulation of urine or difficulty keeping pressure to prevent accidents.
- Urinary tract infections. Infections increase your sense of urgency and occasionally cause incontinence because of the stress and irritation of your bladder.
- Other organs. Your bladder and rectum reside next to each other. If you’re fighting constipation, the hard stool and the strain of voiding can irritate your bladder and cause incontinence issues.
- Pregnancy and childbirth. Childbirth is hard on your system and put pressure on your bladder.
- Hormones Estrogen especially helps keep your bladder strong, healthy, and supple. If you’re perimenopausal or postmenopausal, estrogen levels drop, weakening your bladder muscles, which contributes to functional incontinence.
- Aging It’s normal that many of your muscles and systems weaken slightly as you age. You may also notice uncomfortable bladder spasms.
- Pelvic and abdominal surgeries Certain surgeries, even minimally invasive procedures, may weaken the pelvic floor muscles.
- Bladder prolapse. When you suffer an anterior prolapse, your bladder descends into your vagina. The urethra may kink as a result, obstructing the free flow of urine.
- Prostate problems. An enlarged prostate or prostate cancer puts pressure on the bladder and surrounding tissue.
Treatments for Urinary Incontinence
Your Brooklyn doctor at Century Medical and Dental Center, a multi-disciplinary practice, determines what underlying conditions are causing your incontinence. Many treatment options exist, and you’ll find some combination that’s effective. Your doctor may recommend:
- Behavioral techniques to train yourself to cope with your issue — such as diet and fluid management, scheduled trips to the bathroom or a method of emptying your bladder called double voiding
- Pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the different muscles around and involved with your bladder, bowels and other pelvic organs
- Electrical stimulation for those muscles
- Medications such as alpha blockers, topical estrogen, bladder-relaxing drugs or bladder-calming medicines
- Certain medical devices, such as an insertable pessary, that helps treat prolapse conditions
- Surgeries, including:
- Sling procedures that strengthen the pelvic floor
- Prolapse surgery to correct bulging organs and put them back in place
- Bladder neck suspension that helps support your urethra and bladder
- For men, an artificial urinary sphincter, giving you external control of bladder voiding
Your Downtown Brooklyn practitioner may have other options for dealing with your urinary incontinence. You don’t have to live with incontinence concerns and embarrassment. Talk to your doctor today.