Women with incontinence experience the involuntary loss of urine or bowel. Different factors, including childbirth, aging, surgery, obesity, cognitive impairment, chronic constipation, nerve damage and menopause, can contribute to incontinence. However, female incontinence is common, and according to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 24% of U.S. women are affected with one or more pelvic floor disorders, including incontinence.
Franklin County Medical Center offers diagnostic and treatment services for female incontinence. The most common type of female incontinence is stress incontinence. In this condition, weakened pelvic muscles cannot adequately support the bladder and urethra. This weakness results in urine leaking when a woman coughs, sneezes, laughs, or exercises.
Female incontinence conditions include:
Stress Urinary Incontinence: A type of urinary incontinence causing leakage of urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising or engaging in other activities that increase pressure in the abdomen.· Urge Urinary Incontinence: Also known as overactive bladder syndrome, this condition causes a sudden, uncontrollable urge to urinate, followed by the involuntary loss of urine.
Mixed Urinary Incontinence: A type of urinary incontinence caused by a combination of stress urinary incontinence and urge urinary incontinence. With this condition, the involuntary loss of urine occurs due to physical activities or sudden urges.
Functional Urinary Incontinence: Involuntary loss of urine caused by an underlying medical condition rather than a structural problem. This type of incontinence results from not being able to recognize the signals the body gives when you need to use the bathroom.
Transient Urinary Incontinence: Involuntary loss of urine caused by a temporary medical condition, such as urinary tract infections, bladder stones, infections, physical activities or medications.
Bowel Incontinence: A condition that makes it difficult to control bowel movements leading to involuntary leakage of stool or gas.
Franklin County Medical Center is unique in treating female incontinence due to its comprehensive and individualized approach. Our team includes a variety of specialists who come together to provide a personalized treatment plan designed for your specific needs.
We offer a wide range of treatment options to help women regain control of their bowel and bladder function. We start with conservative, non-surgical approaches and are also skilled in the latest surgical techniques. Treatments can include:
Dietary and Lifestyle Changes: These changes can help reduce the occurrence of incontinence. Dietary changes include increasing your fiber intake and eliminating tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, and other foods and drinks that irritate the bladder. In addition, performing Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles around your bladder, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding lifting heavy objects, which puts pressure on the bladder, can also improve your condition.
Bladder Training: This behavioral therapy treats urinary incontinence and is often used with other treatments, such as pelvic floor exercises and medications. The training involves scheduling regular bathroom breaks to help you better control your bladder and reduce the frequency of incontinence. In addition, bladder training may include using a bladder diary to record the times you urinate and the amount of urine produced.
Overactive Bladder Medications: These medications treat the symptoms of an overactive bladder, such as frequent and sudden urges to urinate. They work by reducing the bladder muscle contractions that cause the urge to urinate.
Cystoscopy: This procedure examines the bladder and urethra using a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera. Urologists use the technique to identify the cause of urinary problems, such as blood in the urine or frequent urination. It can also diagnose bladder cancer, kidney stones or other urinary tract issues.
Vaginal Pessaries: A small, ring-shaped device inserted into the vagina to support the pelvic organs and help reduce pressure on the pelvic floor muscles. Vaginal pessaries can treat conditions such as incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and other conditions caused by weakened pelvic floor muscles.
InterStim Therapy: This neuromodulation therapy, a therapy that uses electrical stimulation or medicine to modulate the activity of the nervous system, treats urinary and bowel problems. It uses a device to send mild electrical impulses to help regulate the bladder and bowel function.
eCoin: eCoin Peripheral Neurostimulator is a minimally invasive procedure that can help patients avoid surgery to alleviate symptoms.
Botox: Using an injection of botulinum toxin in the bladder muscle helps to address urgency urinary incontinence by relaxing the muscles that cause an overactive bladder.
Surgery: An approach to treat urinary or fecal incontinence that may include nerve stimulation, sling procedures or bladder neck suspension.
Female incontinence can significantly impact your quality of life. It can affect daily activities, self-confidence, relationships and overall mental health. It can also lead to embarrassment and feeling out of control.
Common symptoms of female incontinence include:
· Leaking of urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing or exercising
· Feeling a sudden urge to urinate
· Frequent urination
· Difficulty starting or stopping the flow of urine
Other conditions that may cause female incontinence include urinary tract infections, anemia (a condition where the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells), fatigue and difficulty sleeping.
Get the answers you need about female incontinence. Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider or urologist. Call 208-852-3662 to schedule an appointment or find a provider on our website.