Have you ever had a great time with friends laughing out loud, but found yourself uncontrollably leaking urine? You might have even thought “I’m too young for this to be happening.”
The truth is, urinary incontinence is not just for older women. It can happen to women of all ages during exercise or while laughing, sneezing and coughing. This particular type of incontinence is known as stress urinary incontinence and it is quite prevalent.
An Embarrassing Problem
A lot of women don’t want to talk about incontinence, so it can often be left untreated. Loss of bladder control can range from minor and occasional leaks to sudden urges that require literally running to the bathroom.
This problem not just for older women, but it is an inevitable problem that all women face as they age. If you have reached the point where locating the bathroom is the first thing you do in a new environment, it may be time to investigate ways to gain control of your bladder once again.
Non-Invasive Solutions for Incontinence
Simple fluid and dietary management: Cut back on alcohol and coffee that contains caffeine, along with any acidic drinks. Try to lose weight, and engage in more physical activity. In addition, attempt to eat more fiber and don’t smoke.
Learn how to do pelvic floor exercises: Also known as Kegel exercises, these are especially beneficial for stress incontinence issues. Start by pretending to stop a urine flow. Tighten the muscles to stop the flow and hold for 5 seconds, then relax for 5 seconds. Work up to tightening and holding for 10 seconds, and relaxing 10 seconds. The goal is to complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions a day.
Training your bladder is another helpful tool: Try delaying going to the bathroom for 10 minutes after the first urge. Work in increments to lengthen the time with the goal of only urinating every 2.5 to 3.5 hours.
Double voiding is another technique: After urinating, wait a few minutes and try to go again to totally empty your bladder.
Prescription medications: Medications for both men and women are available to help alleviate and manage symptoms of urinary incontinence.
See the Doctor for Additional Solutions for Urinary Incontinence
In most cases, a urologist will recommend many of the above remedies first. If these techniques are not totally effective, your physician may suggest the following:
- A tampon to suppress and close up the urethra especially while exercising
- A vaginal insert
- A pessary fitting similar to a vaginal insert but is reusable up to 3 months
- An in office procedure called urethral bulking with an injection of material closes off the urethra and ultimately decreases the amount of urine leakage
There are also surgical treatment options for urinary incontinence. One such option is the insertion of a polypropylene sling or one made of the patient’s abdomen or leg. Another procedure entails stitches to support the urethra via an incision into the abdomen.
Depending on the severity of incontinence, patients can choose from multiple alternatives to find the best solution for the problem of urinary incontinence.
Speak to one of our board certified urologists about your incontinence problems, and discover the right treatment option for you.