Perhaps you can't control your urine when you cough, sneeze or exercise. Maybe you have accidents if you don't go to the bathroom right away or you go to the bathroom often and urinate in small amounts. Or maybe you find yourself leaking small amounts of urine throughout the day and getting up often at night to go to the bathroom. If this sounds like you, you're not alone. Millions of women suffer from incontinence. The good news is there is treatment available. The Continence and Pelvic Prolapse Clinic at the Center for Women offers a team approach to treating incontinence.
Many women don't talk to their healthcare provider about their problem because they are embarrassed. Others think there is no cure, or that incontinence is inevitable as they get older. However, the sooner you ask your healthcare provider for help, the sooner you can get back to living life to the fullest.
Our experts will do a complete examination to determine what type of incontinence you have and what may be causing it. From there, our team of experts from Gynecology, Urology, Behavioral Health, Nutrition Therapy, Physical Therapy and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation work with you to determine which course of treatment is best for you.
Many treatments are available for women with incontinence including:
- Lifestyle changes (stop smoking, reduce alcohol consumption, diet and exercise)
- Pelvic floor physical therapy with specially trained physical therapists delivers significant improvement for up to 70% of women.
- Prescription medications
- Botox® has been FDA 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.
- Bulking procedure where material is injected to "bulk up" the tissues surrounding the urethra which may have shrunk with age. The increased bulk helps the urethra close more effectively to prevent leakage.
- Urgent® PC Neuromodulation is another nonsurgical, in-office procedure that works like acupuncture. Mild electrical impulses are sent to nerves that help control bladder function. After 12 weekly treatments, results are effective for about a year.
- A bladder pacemaker known as the Interstim sacral nerve stimulator sends mild electrical pulses to the nerve that helps regulate muscle function
In severe cases where other options have failed or there is significant prolapse (dropping or bulging) of the uterus, bladder, vagina or rectum (the lower part of the colon), surgery may be the best option. Specialized testing helps determine which of several surgical procedures would be best for your particular condition.