You laugh too hard at a friend’s joke or you execute a beautiful dive for a tennis ball, but these joyful moments are ruined by accompanying urinary leakage.
To get straight to the question we pose in the title of this blog, Dr. Fernando Otero and the team here at Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley consider urinary incontinence to be far from normal. As part of our wide range of women’s health services, we offer urinary incontinence treatments, which are designed to prevent messy and embarrassing urinary leakage.
Behind the urinary leakage
There are several types of urinary incontinence that can affect women and, unfortunately, the problem is far more common in women than men. Of the 25 million adults in the United States who have urinary incontinence, 75-80% are women.
There are several types of urinary incontinence that can develop in women, including:
- Stress incontinence: pressure on the bladder forces urine out
- Urge incontinence: the bladder is overactive, creating frequent and sudden urges to urinate
- Mixed incontinence: a combination of stress and urge incontinence
Of these, stress incontinence is the most common and typically develops due to a weakened pelvic floor, the group of muscles that support your pelvic organs. The reason why pelvic floors in women tend to weaken more than in men is usually due to childbirth, obesity, and the hormonal changes that come with menopause.
Stopping the leak
If you’re experiencing urinary leakage, our first goal is to determine which type of incontinence is affecting you. If we find that stress incontinence is the culprit, our first goal is to strengthen your pelvic floor. Exercises, such as Kegels, are excellent for achieving this goal, and here's a link to get you started.
Should exercise not be enough to provide the support your bladder needs, we can turn to a pessary, which is a device inserted into the vagina that helps hold your bladder.
In extreme cases, we can turn to surgery to add a mesh that supports your bladder.
If urge incontinence, or overactive bladder, is to blame for your urinary leakage, we can try Botox® injections to quiet the muscles. As well, we can inject bulking agents into your urethra to help you better control the leakage.
In addition to these treatments, lifestyle changes can help. For example, we can try bladder training to help you better control your urges to urinate. As well, steps like losing weight (if you’re carrying extra pounds) can help relieve the pressure on your bladder.
If you want to put an end to your urinary leakage, please contact one of our offices in McAllen or Edinburg, Texas, to set up an appointment.