If you weren’t able to join us for our “I Only Leak When I Laugh” urinary incontinence seminar in September, here’s what you missed!
Dr. Daniel L. Kim, Director of Urogynecology & Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery at Sinai Hospital, provided an overview of urinary incontinence, including the two main types. Did you know that:
- One in four women suffer with pelvic floor issues leading to urinary incontinence
- 35% of women experience urinary incontinence in the postpartum period
- $20 billion are spent each year in treating incontinence
- 55% of women do not discuss this issue with their provider
- 17% of women wait for 5 years before opening up a discussion with their provider
- 80% of women can be treated
Urinary incontinence often leads to quality of life issues such as loss of self esteem and self confidence. It can negatively affect your social life, exercise, sexual relations, work life and can lead to depression.
There are two main types of urinary incontinence, stress and urge. Urge Incontinence is caused by an increase in bladder contractions resulting in an urgency and frequency of urination. Nerves in the spine control bladder function and anything that disrupts nerve communication to the bladder can lead to urge incontinence. Contributing factors may be hormone changes, diabetes, high blood pressure, back and neurological problems, age, foods high in acidity, caffeine, and alcohol. Pelvic organ prolapse (in the uterus or bladder, for example) also contribute because these organs drop down in the pelvic floor, putting pressure on the bladder.
MOST WOMEN HAVE NO RISK FACTORS!
Treatment for Urge Incontinence consists of:
- Kegel exercises – helps to improve the nerve connection to the bladder and pelvis;
- 30-50 kegels per day is recommended
- Pelvic Floor physical therapy and the use of biofeedback
- Medications are available but many cause dry mouth, dry eyes, or constipation; Myrbetriq is a new drug approved by the FDA one year ago and does not have those side effects. However, it can increase blood pressure. Be sure to consult with your provider. Myrbetriq’s action allows the bladder to stretch more.
- Nerve stimulation therapy is also available but not used as often as medications and physical therapy
Stress incontinence is caused by pressure transmitted from your abdomen to the bladder when you cough, sneeze, or laugh. Ligaments in the urethra can be stretched or torn. Contributing factors for stress incontinence is childbirth, hormone changes, weight gain, chronic straining from constipation and chronic coughing.
Treatment for Stress Incontinence consists of:
- Treat constipation and chronic coughing
- Kegels and other pelvic floor exercises
- Pelvic Floor physical therapy
- 50% of women report an improvement from the use of a Pessary: a soft medical device worn in the vagina to hold the bladder up
- Sling procedure: most scientifically studied and is usually a 30 minute procedure as an outpatient
Urinary incontinence is common and treatable with many safe and effective options. Most can be treated without surgery and if necessary, short outpatient therapies are available. If you think you may need pelvic floor treatment, please call Women’s Health Navigator Trish Reggio at 240-215-1447.