When you have control over your bladder and bowel functions, you are considered "continent." If you lose that control, it can be embarrassing and can have a dramatic impact on your quality of life. In addition to an inability to perform regular daily activities, incontinence may cause you to avoid seeing friends and family and participating in social activities that bring joy to your life.
The good news is we offer continence care including:
- Tips for keeping your bladder and bowel healthy
- Assessing problems you're experiencing
- Recommending appropriate treatment for curing or managing symptoms
- Providing emotional support and advice
Many women live with incontinence for much longer than necessary before discussing it with their healthcare provider. Don't let that be you! Incontinence is a common problem and there's no need to be uncomfortable discussing it. Our goal is to return you, as quickly as possible, to your best quality of life through the many types of treatment available today.
Continence and Pelvic Prolapse Clinic
To help if you're suffering from urinary or bowel incontinence and/or pelvic organ prolapse (when a pelvic organ such as your bladder drops from its normal place), Gundersen Health System offers the Continence and Pelvic Prolapse Clinic.
The clinic offers a team approach, where experts from Gynecology, Urology, Physical Therapy and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation partner as needed. First, you're given a thorough physical examination to determine your condition and what may be causing it. The team will then work with you and your primary care provider to establish the best treatment plan.
Urinary incontinence can cause you to dribble when you cough, sneeze, jump, laugh or lift something heavy. You may also have sudden and/or frequent urges to urinate and not always get to the bathroom in time. Or, you may find yourself leaking small amounts of urine during the day and getting up often at night.
Loss of bowel control can cause an involuntary passage of stool. When this occurs, it can range from occasionally leaking a small amount of stool to full loss of control of your bowel movements.
Pelvic organ prolapse
Pelvic organs are held in place by muscles, ligaments and other structures. If they become weak, the uterus, bladder or bowel can drop or "prolapse." Symptoms include bleeding or bulging from the vaginal opening, a full feeling or pressure in the pelvis, frequent urination, bowel irregularities, painful sex and/or lower back pain.
Incontinence and pelvic prolapse are frustrating and embarrassing problems that often cause sufferers to become socially isolated from family and friends. Many treatments are available, so don't allow these conditions keep you from enjoying life. These range from lifestyle changes and medications to physical therapy, medical devices, in-office procedures and surgery.
Urinary incontinence = UI
Bowel incontinence = BI
Pelvic prolapse = PP
- More and more, patients are becoming active participants in their own health via diet, exercise and preventive care. In support of this trend, we are proud to offer you our free self care tool for incontinence.
- Physical therapy, with a specially trained physical therapist, includes bladder and bowel retraining and pelvic floor exercises and delivers significant improvement for up to 70% of women. UI, BI, PP
- Lifestyle changes can help reduce problems including quitting smoking; avoiding alcohol, caffeine and certain foods; adding more fiber; and controlling your weight. UI, BI, PP
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications. UI, BI, PP
- BOTOX® is Food and Drug Administration approved for urinary incontinence. Injected into the bladder muscle it reduces muscle spasms that produce urgency. It's very effective for about nine months with few side effects. UI
- Biofeedback can teach the proper way to strengthen pelvic floor muscles, sense when it's time to go and improve control of bladder and bowel. UI, BI
- Bulking is an in-office procedure in which material is injected to "bulk up" the tissues surrounding the urethra to help it close more effectively to prevent leakage. UI
- Neuromodulation or bladder and bowel pacemakers use mild impulses to stimulate nerves that control bladder and/or bowel function. After 12 weekly treatments, results are effective for about a year. UI, BI
- Acupuncture can be used to help improve bowel and bladder control. UI, BI
- A pessary is a device that is inserted into the vagina to support the pelvic organs. PP
- If surgery needed, there are several options available depending on age, general health, lifestyle and personal preference. UI, BI, PP
Get help now
Every woman's needs are unique. Our expert team in the Continence and Pelvic Prolapse Clinic will work with you to determine the best treatment options for you. Schedule an appointment today.