We hesitate to use the word, “embarrassing,” when it comes to urinary incontinence because we understand just how common the issue is — it affects half of women, especially as they get older. Whether you find urinary incontinence embarrassing or you’re simply tired of feeling like a prisoner to the issue, we want you to know that there are solutions.
As women’s health experts, the team here at Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley, which is led by Dr. Fernando Otero, has helped many of our patients overcome urinary incontinence, and we feel confident that we can do the same for you.
In the following, we briefly review the different types of urinary incontinence and then get into some of the more effective treatment options.
Different roads to incontinence
There are three main types of urinary incontinence that affect women, including:
- Stress incontinence — you leak urine when there’s increased pressure on your bladder
- Urge incontinence — you feel the urge to pee often, even if you’ve just gone
- Mixed incontinence — a combination of stress and urge incontinence
There are other types of incontinence, such as functional incontinence — you have physical limitations that prevent you from reaching the toilet in time — but the above three are the most common.
Taking charge of your incontinence
How we approach your incontinence depends on the type you have, so we’re going to break down your treatment options between the two primary types we discussed above.
Treatment options for stress incontinence
With stress incontinence, a sneeze or cough can lead to leakage, and this is usually due to a lack of support for your bladder. This support should come from your pelvic floor, but childbirth and age can weaken these muscles and other tissues, often leading to pelvic organ prolapse (pelvic organs like your bladder shift downward).
A good first step toward remedying stress incontinence is to strengthen your pelvic floor through exercise (click here for instructions).
If pelvic floor exercises fail to provide enough support, we can fit you for a pessary that’s placed inside your vagina to hold your bladder up. If your bladder has prolapsed severely, Dr. Otero can perform a minimally invasive surgery to reposition your bladder and reestablish the support in your urethra and bladder neck.
Treatment options for urge incontinence
If your involuntary urine leakage is mostly due to an overactive bladder, you have several options. First, we can try behavioral training exercises that retrain your bladder so that you’re not constantly feeling sudden urges to urinate.
We can also try Botox® injections to quiet the muscles in your bladder that are overactive. As well, we can implant a neuromodulator device that stimulates the sacral nerves that influence the function of your bladder.
As you can see, there are many different solutions when it comes to urinary incontinence, and we’ll leave no stone unturned when it comes to finding the right one for you.
To declare victory over your incontinence, please contact one of our offices in McAllen or Edinburg, Texas, to schedule a consultation.