Urinary incontinence, otherwise known as bladder leakage, is the involuntary release of urine from the bladder. The amount and frequency of leaked urine can vary in severity from person to person. While leaking urine is never normal, it is a very common condition for women – especially as they age.
If you are suffering from urinary continence, don’t be shy about discussing your concerns with your gynecologist. At North Pointe OB/GYN, we specialize in treating female urinary issues, and we can help you regain confidence in your bladder.
Types and Causes of Incontinence
Not all incontinence is the same. There are three main types and causes of a leaking bladder, and it is important to distinguish which one is plaguing you:
Stress incontinence is the most common cause of bladder leakage in women because it is triggered by a weak pelvic floor or the ligaments and muscles that support your bladder and uterus. When this “basket” support system becomes weakened (pregnancy, childbirth, excess weight), the urinary sphincter can struggle to control and regulate the flow of urine from the bladder like it should. This can be identified as leaking urine when coughing, laughing, sneezing, exercising, or lifting objects.
Also referred to as overactive bladder, this type of incontinence develops when the nerves around the bladder are damaged. Multiple conditions and diseases (such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, etc) can cause the bladder to spasm in this way and make you feel like you need to suddenly urinate even when your bladder is not completely full. Some women have a combination of both stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
When there is a blockage that is impeding the bladder from fully emptying, it can cause pressure that results in persistent dribbles of escaping urine. Overflow incontinence may be a result of a urinary stone, tumor, or polyp that is blocking the normal urinary flow.
Are You at Risk?
Unfortunately, if you are a woman, you are already at a higher risk for urinary continence. Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, weight gain, smoking, and high-impact exercising can increase your risk for urinary leakage even more. However, don’t assume you have to live with your embarrassing bladder. Contact our physicians at North Point OB/GYN today to learn about the widespread treatment options that may be available to you.