If you are suffering from incontinence, it is essential to identify the type of incontinence and the cause before making any treatment decisions.
Types of Urinary Incontinence
- Stress incontinence is the leakage of small amounts of urine during physical movement such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising.
- Urge incontinence is the sudden, unexpected leakage of large amounts of urine, including during sleep.
- Overactive bladder is the sensation of urinary urgency. Patients have to “go” many times a day, with or without urge incontinence.
- Functional incontinence is untimely urination because of physical or mental disabilities.
- Overflow incontinence is the unexpected leakage of small amounts of urine because of a full bladder.
- Mixed incontinence is a combination of more than one type of incontinence, usually stress and urge.
- Transient incontinence is temporary leakage due to circumstances such as infection, taking a new medication, or colds with coughing.
Treatment for incontinence in women varies depending on the type and severity of incontinence. In some cases, medication, pelvic floor physical therapy and core strengthening exercises can help. In a procedure called periurethral bulking, agents such as collagen can be injected in the area where the bladder meets the urethra to help thicken tissues and close the bladder opening. In some cases, a Botox® injection in the bladder can help overactive bladder symptoms.
Retropubic suspension uses surgical sutures to create support for the bladder neck. Our urogynecologist will make an incision in the abdomen a few inches below the navel and then secures the sutures to pelvic ligaments, creating support for the urethral sphincter. This common procedure is often done at the same time as a hysterectomy.
Our urogynecologist performs a leading-edge procedure called sacral neuromodulation, which can be very helpful in treating overactive bladder. This procedure involves the surgical implantation of a pacemaker-like device to electrically stimulate the bladder. Expect to spend two weeks with a temporary stimulator, and if your urinary problem is improved by at least 50%, then a permanent device will be implanted.
Performed through a vaginal incision, the traditional sling procedure uses a strip of a woman’s own tissue or man-made material to create a sling that supports the bladder neck. Our urogynecologist attaches both ends of the sling to the pubic bone. Mid-urethral slings are newer procedures using synthetic mesh materials that will be placed midway along the urethra.