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Women's Health

Here to Help You Regain Control: Learning More About Bladder Control Problems

Women experience bladder control problems at any time: at work, while watching a movie or simply walking. You are not alone — one in three women experience some type of bladder control problem. Although common, it is not normal and there are many ways it can be helped.

Bladder control problems can be disruptive to your life—but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Bayhealth Urologist and Urogynecologist Ray Bologna, MD, MBA, provides further information about urinary incontinence that can help you regain control.

There are several different types of bladder control problems or urinary incontinence, each with different treatment options. The most common types of bladder control problems include:

  • Stress incontinence. Urine leaks when you apply pressure on your bladder by coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising or lifting something heavy.

  • Overactive Bladder/Urge incontinence. This can be the experience of needing to urinate frequently and urgently. Urinating more than 8 times a day and more than once at night is considered abnormal. Urge incontinence can include the experience of a sudden, intense urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine.

  • Mixed incontinence. Unfortunately, many women experience a combination of both stress and urge incontinence. There are multiple options to treat both problems.

If you’re experiencing any version of urinary incontinence, it’s best to be seen by your primary care physician (PCP) to ensure you don’t have an infection causing your symptoms. A urology referral will be the next step if your PCP deems it necessary.
There are many causes of loss of bladder control.

Stress incontinence results from a lack of support around the tube you urinate through, the urethra. Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, chronic straining and coughing can increase your risk of stress incontinence.
Urgency and urge incontinence is a muscle and nerve change to the bladder. It worsens with pregnancy, certain neurologic conditions, C-sections, menopause or it can just happen. Certain bladder irritants can worsen your symptoms such as caffeine, alcohol, citrus and artificial sweeteners.

The good news is that there are many ways to help both stress and urge incontinence.

Stress incontinence treatment options include pelvic floor therapy either at home or with a specially trained physical therapist, a pelvic floor therapist. There are support devices that can be placed in the vagina to provide support to the urethra. These are sold over the counter or can be fit in the office. There is a minor procedure to “bulk” up the urethra, or a sling can be placed surgically to provide greater support. All the procedures have minimal recovery time and can be done in the office or as an outpatient.

Urge incontinence or overactive bladder can be helped with behavioral modification, changing what you drink. Pelvic floor therapy can help urge incontinence. There are many medications, including newer options that have minimal side effects. Botox can be used in the bladder to decrease leakage, the urge to go and even decrease the number of times at night a person gets up to use the bathroom. There is even a pacemaker-like device for the bladder that has been in use since 1998. Again, all of the procedures are done in the office or as an outpatient with minimal recovery time.

Don’t fret— there are multiple treatment options. Assessing the cause will be the first place to start because you may need to change some daily habits to see improvements. Discussing your options with your PCP, urologist/urogynecologist is always best.

Visit Bayhealth.org/Find-A-Doc to get started today. Don’t wait to resolve bladder control problems.

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