Urinary Incontinence & Prolapse Doctor in Dayton, OH
What is urinary incontinence?
Occasional accidents happen to almost everyone at some point in their life, but sometimes these accidents may be an indication of an underlying condition. If you find that you regularly have problems making it to the bathroom in time or can’t laugh without an accidental leak, you may have urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence, which affects women twice as much as men, is a condition characterized by an intense and sudden need to urinate, followed by an accidental leak.
What are the causes of urinary incontinence in females?
Urinary incontinence can be temporary or persistent. Temporary incontinence can occur from use of certain substances and will usually go away with time or behavior modifications. Persistent incontinence is chronic, lasts longer than temporary incontinence, and is typically the result of other conditions.
Temporary urinary incontinence may be caused by consumption of:
- Chili peppers
- Spicy, sugary, or acidic foods
- Certain medications
- High vitamin C intake
Persistent urinary incontinence may be caused by:
While urinary incontinence most commonly affects menopausal or post-pregnancy women, it may affect young females as well. Causes of urinary incontinence in young females may include pre-existing traits, weak pelvic floor muscles, hormone imbalances, sexual intercourse, or involvement in high-impact sports.
What are the symptoms of urinary incontinence?
There are five different types of urinary incontinence. Based on the type of urinary incontinence, symptoms will vary:
- Stress incontinence – urine leaks caused by strain on the bladder, such as laughing or exercising.
- Urge incontinence – a strong urge to urinate accompanied by an uncontrollable leak.
- Overflow incontinence – a constant trickle of urine.
- Functional incontinence – the inability to make it to the bathroom in time because of physical or mental reasons.
- Mixed incontinence – characterized by having one or more of the above types of incontinence.
Urinary incontinence symptoms may be confused with those of overactive bladder. However, urinary incontinence involves involuntary urine leaks – an overactive bladder does not.
How can you determine if it is stress urinary incontinence or an overactive bladder?
Often the diagnosis can be made by history and a physical alone. If overactive bladder is suspected, then most practitioners will try one-two medicines before doing testing. The tests that help clarify the diagnosis are called urodynamics.
What are my treatment options for urinary incontinence?
If your doctor diagnoses you with urinary incontinence, there are various urinary incontinence treatment options available. Some treatment options will only require conservative therapy approaches, while other options may require surgery. Methods for treating urinary incontinence include:
- Bladder training
- Double voiding
- Scheduling when you go to the bathroom
- Beverage and diet changes
- Kegel exercises
- Sanitary pads
- Electrical stimulation
- Urethral insert
- Nerve stimulators
- Sling procedures
- Bladder neck suspension
- Prolapse surgery
- Artificial sphincter
What is uterine prolapse?
Uterine prolapse is a form of pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic organ prolapse is when organs such as the uterus, bladder, intestines, rectum, or vagina slide into or out of the vagina. A pelvic organ prolapse occurs in the following stages:
- Stage 1 prolapse – minimal prolapse and the organ is still supported.
- Stage 2 prolapse – the organ is still in the vagina, but has started to drop.
- Stage 3 prolapse – the organ is starting to move towards or outside the opening of the vagina.
- Stage 4 prolapse – the organ has moved outside of the vagina.
What causes uterine prolapse?
Uterine prolapse is the result of weakened pelvic floor muscles. When your pelvic floor muscles weaken, they are unable to hold your uterus. Your pelvic floor muscles may become weakened due to:
- Trauma during childbirth
- Problematic labor and delivery
- Birthing a large baby
- Being overweight
- Low estrogen levels after menopause
- Chronic constipation
- Strained bowel movements
- Chronic cough
- Frequent heavy lifting
Knowing how to prevent uterine prolapse can help you keep your pelvic floor muscles strong. Simple methods to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles include:
- Kegel exercises
- Drinking plenty of fluids
- Eating high-fiber foods
- Avoiding lifting heavy objects
- Controlling your coughing
- Avoiding weight gain
What are the symptoms of uterine prolapse?
Early, less severe cases of uterine prolapse will not always display any signs or symptoms. However, for moderate to severe cases of uterine prolapse, symptoms can include:
- A heavy or pulling feeling in your pelvis
- Feeling as though something is coming out of your vagina
- Bodily tissue coming out through your vagina
- Urinary difficulties such as urinary incontinence
- Having a hard time with bowel movements
How is uterine prolapse diagnosed?
Your doctor will perform a pelvic exam to assess how much the uterus has slid into your vagina and diagnose the severity of your prolapse. Your doctor will also evaluate the strength of your pelvic floor muscles. Additional testing may take place to determine the best treatment options for your needs.
How is uterine prolapse treated?
Treatment for uterine prolapse will vary for each patient. Depending on the severity of your case, you may or may not require surgery. For mild cases of uterine prolapse, treatment can include:
- Kegel exercises
- Weight loss
- Treating constipation
For severe cases of uterine prolapse, your doctor may recommend a hysterectomy, a procedure that involves removal of the uterus.
Is a hysterectomy necessary for uterine prolapse?
A hysterectomy is not always necessary. Uterine prolapse repair without hysterectomy is also possible. Alternative surgical treatment options may include:
If you are experiencing symptoms of urinary incontinence or uterine prolapse, schedule an appointment with an Ob/Gyn specialist at Huey & Weprin Ob/Gyn. With specialized care and cutting-edge treatments in obstetrics and gynecology, Huey & Weprin Ob/Gyn offers a wide variety of gynecologic and obstetric services from leaders in Ob/Gyn research development. Call 937.771.5100 or fill out the form on this page to schedule an appointment.