Your bladder is a muscular organ that stores urine until you’re ready to go to the bathroom. But if you suffer from a condition known as urinary incontinence, your bladder may not hold urine as well as it should.
As a result, your bladder may leak urine during the day or night, or when you sneeze, cough, or exercise.
Urinary incontinence is surprisingly common. Although it can affect women of any age, it’s especially likely to occur in older women. In fact, more than 40% of women over the age of 65 experience it. Men can also have incontinence, although it is twice as common in women.
If you’re one of the many women dealing with bladder leakage, we can help. Board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist Houmam Al-Hakeem, MD, and our team of caring providers at Westover Hills Women’s Health understand the impact that bladder leakage can have on your quality of life.
Our expert providers offer a range of treatments and lifestyle changes that help improve the symptoms of urinary incontinence. We invite you to read on to learn more about this important topic.
Types of urinary incontinence
There are two main kinds of urinary incontinence: stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
Women with stress incontinence leak urine when stress (or force) exerts pressure on the bladder. Sources of bladder stress include coughing, sneezing, or laughing, as well as the pressure you put on abdominal and pelvic muscles while lifting, exercising, running, or having sexual intercourse.
Stress incontinence is often caused by muscle weakening linked to:
- Pelvic surgery
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Pelvic floor disorders
In addition, some medications can contribute to incontinence.
Urge incontinence is an uncontrollable urge to urinate. It occurs because your bladder muscles contract to squeeze out urine even when you don’t have much urine in your bladder and shouldn’t need to go to the bathroom.
Some common causes of urge incontinence include infection, inflammation, blockages, bladder cancer, or nerve problems.
Treating urinary incontinence
The optimal treatment for urinary incontinence depends on several factors, including your specific diagnosis, the severity of your symptoms, and any related health conditions you may have. In general, treatment may include one or more of the following:
- Weight loss
- Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles
- Bladder training (training yourself to urinate less often)
- Bladder support devices (known as pessaries)
- Limiting fluids before bed
- Cutting back on alcohol
Have your incontinence evaluated
Don’t put up with a leaking bladder any longer. To schedule a bladder evaluation appointment at one of our two San Antonio, Texas, offices, call us today or use our online tool to book an appointment.