You just can’t help yourself when it comes
to urinary incontinence. It affects 13 million
Americans, 85 percent of which are women. But
help is available when you visit a urologist, a
physician who has specialized knowledge and
skill in treating problems of the male and female
urinary tract and the male reproductive organs.
? what is urinary incontinence?
It is loss of voluntary control over your urinary
functions. There are many types of urinary
- Stress incontinence: Loss of urine when
pressure is put on the bladder (sneezing,
- Urge incontinence: Often referred to as
“overactive bladder,” urge to urinate is strong
and patients feel as if they can’t get to the
bathroom in time.
- Mixed incontinence: A combination of both
urge and stress incontinence.
- Overflow incontinence: Occurs when the
bladder is so full that it leaks urine.
? how can a person get relief?
Treating urinary incontinence can be done
through behavior modification techniques,
drug therapy (only effective in certain types
of incontinence), injectable agents, catheters,
absorbent products, mechanical devices, surgery
or suspension slings.
? what surgical treatments
are available if self-management
Most surgical treatments are minimally invasive
with long-term results. That means a person no
longer needs to depend on daily maintenance
products. One treatment is the sling procedure,
which can often correct stress incontinence in
women by supporting the bladder neck and urethra
in their natural positions. The procedure
has an 85 percent success rate.
? what is pelvic organ prolapse?
Millions of women who have urinary incontinence
also have pelvic organ prolapse, usually
found during a routine pelvic exam. It will not
go away on its own and may require surgery
for symptom relief. Pelvic organ prolapse occurs
when the vaginal wall is too weak to hold the
pelvic organs, such as the bladder, uterus and
rectum, in place. Both surgical and nonsurgical
treatments are available.
If you’ve ever been uneasy because of urinary
incontinence, you may want to see a urologist.