The bladder has two main functions. It is designed to store urine when you don’t want to urinate and then empty on demand when you are ready to go. Unfortunately, the bladder doesn’t always work how we want it to, especially if you are an adult woman. Urinary incontinence, or the involuntary release of urine, is a common concern for women. It can be embarrassing and cause women to avoid certain activities.
There are two primary types of incontinence: urge incontinence and stress incontinence. Urge incontinence is often called overactive bladder, and this condition affects older adults the most. It occurs when the main contractile muscle of the bladder fails to control storing and releasing urine. This results in feeling like you suddenly need to go or an unexpected leak before you make it to the bathroom.
Stress incontinence can occur in both men and women, but it commonly impacts women who have previously birthed children. It is recognized by urine that leaks that occur when you sneeze, cough, laugh or lift something. If there’s no way you would attempt to jump rope or use the trampoline with your kids due to bladder leakage, you likely have stress incontinence on some level. Weak pelvic floor muscles are the culprit.
Whether it’s leaking urine during exercise or a sudden uncontrollable need to go to the bathroom, urinary incontinence can be quite disruptive to one’s quality of life. Instead of avoiding activities you love or wearing a pad or diaper, it is important to seek help from your gynecologist. Urinary incontinence can typically be corrected without an invasive surgery. It is a very common condition that you should not be embarrassed to bring up with your physician As stated in a Huffingon Post article, “some 13 million people — as many as one in three older adults — live with this distress.”
The best place to start is to keep a “bladder diary.” This allows you to share with your physician exactly what is going wrong with your bladder. Be sure to include what triggers your accidents as well as how much urine you are actually leaking. Your symptom report combined with a medical exam and urine test may be all that is needed to accurately diagnose your condition.
At North Pointe OB/GYN Associates, we proudly offer a wide range of treatment options for urinary incontinence. While a minimally-invasive surgery may be needed for some, others may experience significant improvement by pelvic floor strengthening exercises or merely changing their lifestyle habits, which can include losing weight, avoiding caffeine and nicotine.
Don’t let your uncontrolled bladder habits ruin your enjoyment of everyday activities. Call our Cumming office today.