Urinary Incontinence May be More Common Than You Think
If you have ever had a urinary accident, whether slight leakage or full-on loss of bladder control, you are not alone. In fact, millions of American women suffer from some type of urinary incontinence and, contrary to popular belief, it’s not just a condition that arises as a normal consequence of aging.
Internal medicine physician Dr. Diane Brzezinski, D.O. has helped hundreds of her southwest Florida-area patients of all ages control their urinary incontinence. She understands the causes of behind this embarrassing condition and offers her patients a holistic approach for improving bladder control. Read on to learn more about urinary incontinence and Dr. B’s approach for alleviating the problem.
What is Urinary Incontinence?
Simply put, urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control that can lead to everything from minor leakage to a complete involuntary loss of the bladder’s contents before reaching a bathroom. Urinary incontinence can occur rarely, sporadically, or be a chronic condition. According to researchers, between 25% to 45% of women suffer from urinary incontinence at least once in a given year. Urinary incontinence rates increase with age, with up to 50% of older women suffering from the condition.
Men can also have urinary incontinence, though at about half the rate of women. The greater prevalence in women is believed in large part to be a result of the stress put on their bodies by pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause. These life events can weaken pelvic floor muscles, inhibiting their role in supporting bladder control. Absent pregnancy and childbirth, high-impact sports are believed to be the leading cause of urinary incontinence in younger women.
Types of Urinary Incontinence
The medical field characterizes urinary incontinence under five categories:
- Stress Incontinence—describes small leakage that typically happens when you laugh, cough, sneeze or make any physical movements that put too much pressure on the bladder. It is often associated with high-impact sports, pregnancy, and childbirth, all of which can stretch and tear pelvic muscles and tissues that help support the bladder. Stress incontinence can also arise as part of the aging process and in those who are overweight.
- Urge Incontinence—also known as “overactive bladder,” this type of incontinence describes a sudden, urgent need to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of the bladder’s contents before you can reach a bathroom. Medical conditions, such as a urinary tract infection, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes have been associated with it. The condition is believed to be caused by involuntary spasms of the bladder’s muscles.
- Overflow Incontinence—describes an inability to fully empty your bladder during bathroom visits, which subsequently leads to leakage or dribbling of urine. This incontinence can be caused by certain medications and has been associated with diabetes.
- Mixed Incontinence—As the name implies, this describes being afflicted by more than one type of incontinence.
- Functional Incontinence—refers to physical limitations that prevent you from getting to the bathroom facilities in time.
Addressing Urinary Incontinence with Dr. B
As an internal medicine practitioner, Dr. B takes a holistic approach to urinary incontinence. This can involve changes to diet, exercise moves to strengthen the pelvic muscles, and bladder control training. Dr. B may also recommend two minimally invasive treatment options that have proven efficacy at improving urinary control.
Diva™ Laser Vaginal Therapy uses hybrid fractional laser technology to reduce vaginal laxity, and increase muscle tone, which can help with bladder control by enhancing the ability to apply pressure to the urethra.
The O-Shot®, which uses a woman’s own blood plasma to encourage cell and tissue growth in the vaginal area, has also been linked to improved urinary control and a significant reduction in stress and urge incontinence incidents.
Consult with Dr. B to Learn More About Controlling Urinary Incontinence
If you would like to learn more about the causes of urinary incontinence and approaches that can help alleviate it, consult with Dr. B. You can contact Dr. B’s Naples-based internal medicine practice today through our easy online form, or by calling (239) 261-9990.