Urinary incontinence, a condition that causes unwanted urine leakage from your bladder, affects women of all ages. It is especially common for older women and women who have already gone through menopause. Although urinary incontinence does not pose any significant risk to a woman’s health, it can be a source of considerable frustration and embarrassment. Since we at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett try to put an emphasis on patient education, we thought it would be helpful to present a few facts about urinary incontinence to help women better understand this condition, how it can affect them, and what treatment options are available.
Fact #1: Urinary Incontinence Comes in Different Forms
There are several different types of urinary incontinence. Each form of incontinence has its own causes and triggers and can affect people differently. For example, stress urinary incontinence (the most common form of urinary incontinence) can be triggered by physical activities like laughing, sneezing, coughing, or working out. Whereas an overactive bladder (due to frequent bladder muscle contractions) or overflow incontinence prevents people from fully emptying their bladder, leading to overflow that can unexpectedly leak out. In order to find the most beneficial treatment for your incontinence issues, it’s important to visit with a board-certified gynecologist who specializes in incontinence to determine what is causing your symptoms.
Fact #2: Your Weight Can Lead to Urinary Incontinence
Being overweight increases a woman’s risk of urinary incontinence. Carrying excess weight puts additional pressure on the bladder, which can cause a weakening of the bladder muscles over time. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), losing even a small amount of weight (less than 10% of your total body weight) can greatly decrease your chances of experiencing incontinence.
Fact #3: Women are More Susceptible to Urinary Incontinence
Although men can experience urinary incontinence, it is much more common in women. Bodily changes that are unique to women like pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause can affect the urinary tract and the surrounding muscles and increase the chances of urinary incontinence. A shorter urethra makes women more prone to urinary tract infections, which can lead to incontinence. Also, the urethral sphincter muscle is part of the pelvic floor. Weakening of the pelvic floor muscles can lead to leakage of urine. The male urethral sphincter is located near the bladder and away from the pelvic floor muscles.
The good news is that urinary incontinence is treatable. Depending on your situation, we may recommend medication, devices like pessaries or urethral inserts, FemTouch™ Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation treatments, or surgery. Since successfully treating urinary incontinence requires treating the underlying cause of your symptoms, it is essential to begin by seeing an experienced, board-certified gynecologist to get an accurate diagnosis of your condition. During your appointment, we will discuss your symptoms and perform a pelvic exam to determine the extent and the root cause of your incontinence. For more information or to request an appointment, please contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. And follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more tips, news, and details on our upcoming health and wellness events.