Urinary incontinence is a widespread problem for women, particularly following pregnancy and childbirth. Surgery can typically effectively eliminate urinary incontinence, but according to Columbus gynecologist Dr. Otto Umana, less invasive options are available.
Urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control) affects about 50% of all women at some point in their life. Factors that increase the occurrence of urinary incontinence include age, childbirth and weakened pelvic floor muscles.
Although there are several different kinds of urinary incontinence, the most common type is stress incontinence, which occurs when pressure or stress is placed on the bladder, such as when you cough, sneeze, lift something heavy, or exercise.
During your medical evaluation, your Columbus gynecologist will discuss your medical history and any symptoms you may be experiencing. He will also conduct a physical exam to determine the strength and tone of your pelvic floor muscles and assess the support of your pelvic organs, such as your bladder and urethra. A urinalysis is also typically part of the initial assessment.
To further assess your condition, your Columbus gynecologist may ask you to keep a diary for several days to track and record your bladder habits and symptoms. You’ll need to keep track of how often you urinate, the number of leaks you experience, and the amount and types of fluid you’ve been drinking.
If your evaluation reveals that stress incontinence is the problem, the first treatment may include exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Or, a device called a pessary may be placed in the vagina to support the bladder and bladder neck.
Injectable bulking agents that are injected into the tissue surrounding the urethra can also be used to treat stress incontinence to help keep the urethra closed and reduce urine leaks.
If symptoms persist after these conservative forms of therapy, the next step would be to consider some form of invasive surgical treatment that typically offer high cure rates.
Before you consider surgery, make an appointment to see Columbus gynecologist Dr. Otto Umana to have your condition thoroughly evaluated.