There are three primary types of urinary incontinence:
Overactive bladder or urge incontinence causes you to use the bathroom frequently, even at night, as well as experience strong urges to urinate. This type of incontinence usually occurs when the nerves connecting the bladder to the brain are injured, causing the urge signal to “misfire.”
Stress incontinence causes leakage when you when you sneeze, cough, laugh or engage in many types of physical activities, including exercise and sex. Stress incontinence is a result of a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles as well as the ligaments that support the bladder and urinary tract.
Mixed incontinence includes people who have both urge and stress incontinence types.
Lots of factors can cause urinary incontinence including significant weight gain and obesity, pregnancy, vaginal delivery, and trauma. Dr. Bickman will look closely at your health history and perform an exam and possibly tests to determine the causes of your incontinence.
In addition to your own reports, lab tests including urinalysis and visual exams can provide the information needed to diagnose incontinence and help determine the best course of treatment.
Today, there are more treatments than ever before to reduce or even remedy incontinence symptoms, including state-of-the-art MonaLisa Touch treatment offered by Dr. Bickman. Additional treatment approaches include exercise, medications, behavioral or dietary changes, physical therapy, nerve stimulation and even biofeedback. Some types of incontinence respond best through minimally invasive outpatient surgical procedures. One of the most popular and effective types of surgery for stress incontinence is the bladder sling, which provides added support for weakened bladder muscles that do not respond to exercise therapy. Dr. Bickman will be able to determine which type of treatment would be best for your type of incontnence and your health.
Today, there are multiple surgical procedures and techniques to treat urinary incontinence, including urethral injections which are minimally invasive but must often be repeated as the cure rate with this treatment is only 10 to 30 percent. Sling procedures are the most common and popular surgery and involve the placement of a narrow strip of material under the urethra to provide a hammock of support and improve urethral closure. It is considered to be minimally invasive and patients typically recover very quickly. Additional options include abdominal surgery in which the surgeon goes in to attach the vaginal tissues to the pubic bone. Results are positive for the long-term, but the surgery requires longer recuperation and is generally only used when other abdominal surgeries are required.
23-25% of all women experience incontinence sometime in their lifetime. If urinary incontinence is affecting your daily activities, the most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone. Dr. Bickman is dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of this type of pelvic floor disorders as well as bulging or falling vaginas and bladders, and other painful bladder conditions. For more information and to start improving the quality of your life, make an appointment to see your local Santa Monica OB/GYN today.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!