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Urinary incontinence is a common bladder disorder that affects millions of Americans. While women are far more likely to develop Urinary Incontinence (or UI), men can also be afflicted. UI occurs when a patient experiences unwanted urine leakage during some form of regular daily physical activity. This can be minor bladder leaking after coughing or sneezing, or a total emptying of the bladder.

Understanding the Different Types of Urinary IncontinenceUrinary incontinence can be temporary condition caused by a urinary tract infection, pregnancy or even certain medications. However, the effects of urinary incontinence can be long-lasting. In these cases, the issue is often caused by a weakening of the muscles and tissues around the pelvis, usually resulting from natural aging or childbirth.

There are several different types of urinary incontinence. Each kind has its own causes and triggers and affects the afflicted person differently. Below we will highlight the most common types of urinary incontinence, their causes and potential treatments in hopes of educating and preparing the reader for how to combat urinary incontinence.

Overflow Incontinence

Overflow incontinence is a form of incontinence that prevents you from fully emptying the bladder.

Because the bladder doesn't empty properly, this leads to overflow which can unexpectedly leak out. This can also lead to the feeling that your bladder is never really empty.

The most common causes of overflow incontinence include weakened bladder muscles, nerve damage, blocked urine flow, constipation or reaction to certain medications. If left untreated, overflow incontinence can lead to urinary tract infection and similar medical issues.

Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence is the most common form of urinary incontinence in the US. It results in the involuntary loss of urine after or during mild physical activities like laughing, sneezing, coughing, or exercising. This physical exertion can put daily physical stress and pressure on the abdomen and bladder, leading to bladder leakage.

Weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, which usually occurs as a result of pregnancy, childbirth or menopause, is the most common cause of stress incontinence. As these muscles weaken, the pelvic the ligaments that support the bladder weaken as well, making you susceptible to bladder leakage. Stress incontinence can occur at any stage of life.

Urge Incontinence

Urge incontinence, sometimes known as an overactive bladder, is characterized by an expected emptying of the bladder after a sudden, immediate urge to urinate. Those experiencing urge incontinence may urinate more than eight times per day and wake up in the night to go as well.

Accidental urination can be triggered by sudden change in position or activity, exposure to running water and drinking even a small amount of liquid. Urge incontinence is twice as common in women as men, and becomes more common with age.

Mixed Incontinence

Mixed incontinence refers to a condition in which a person experiences symptoms of both stress and urge incontinence. It can often include leakage during physical activity and an overwhelmingly strong, sudden urge to urinate immediately.

Because urinary incontinence generally involves treating the underlying cause of the symptoms, getting an accurate diagnosis of your condition is an important first step in treatment. This normally involves a discussion of your symptoms, as well as a pelvic exam. Fortunately, simple lifestyle changes and treatments are often able to control urinary incontinence and help patients put an end to the social stress and discomfort it creates. However, if additional treatment is needed, options may include medications, injections or surgical procedures, depending on the hormonal or structural causes of the symptoms. For treatment plans or general questions about urinary incontinence, please contact the Dr. Kristine Gould and the board-certified gynecologists at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today at (678) 380-1980. 

Endometrial cancer, cancer of the lining of the uterus, is unfortunately becoming more and more common according to studies from the American Cancer Society. Already the 4th most common type of cancer for women in the US, rates of endometrial cancer have steadily increased in recent years. While this trend may seem disheartening when compared with most other types of cancers that have seen their prevalence decline over the same time frame, there are effective and helpful treatments available. Scheduling a well woman exam with Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett is a good first step in the prevention of endometrial cancer.

Causes and Risk Factors

Doctors aren’t sure exactly what causes endometrial cancer. What they do know is that something occurs to create a genetic mutation in cells that make up the lining of the uterus. This mutation turns healthy cells into abnormal cells, which can accumulate over time and form a tumor.

While doctors have had difficulties pinpointing the precise cause, there is a vast array of risk factors that have been proven to contribute to the risk of developing endometrial cancer including:

Increased Number of Menstrual Cycles

The total number of menstrual cycles over a woman’s life has an effect on her chances of developing endometrial cancer. The more cycles you’ve had, the higher your risk. Women that either started menstrual periods earlier than normal or have gone through menopause later in life are at greater risk

Advanced Age

Your risk of endometrial cancer only increases as you age. Endometrial cancer is most common for women who have already undergone menopause.

Overweight or Obesity

Being overweight or obese may indeed contain the most direct risk of any of these factors. Having more fat tissue can increase a woman's estrogen levels, increasing her chances for endometrial cancer. Obese women are more than three times as likely to develop endometrial cancer as women maintaining a healthy body weight.

Race

Women of certain races are experiencing slightly different rates of endometrial cancer growth. Last year the increase was less than one percent for white women, compared with 1.8% for Hispanic women and 2.5% for African American and Asian women. While all women may be at risk, African American women are especially vulnerable to endometrial cancer and have a considerably higher mortality rate when compared to other female demographics.

Hormone Imbalance

Your ovaries produce two primary female hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Instabilities in the balance of these hormones cause changes to the inner lining of your uterus. Taking medications like hormone replacement after menopause that contain one of these hormones and not the other can increase your risk of endometrial cancer.

Some common symptoms to look out for include irregular uterine bleeding, pain or soreness in the pelvis or an abnormal, watery or blood-tinged vaginal discharge.

Cancer research and treatments have never been more effective and sophisticated. Even for women who receive a positive diagnosis, the odds of beating cancer and getting back to your normal life have never been better. If you are experiencing any of symptoms of endometrial cancer, do not hesitate to contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett to set up an appointment with our board-certified gynecologists today. 

Irregular bleeding, or abnormal uterine bleeding, has many causes. They include hormonal imbalances, pregnancy-related complications, uterine growths and medication side effects. Bleeding is considered abnormal if it occurs in between periods or after sex, if it is heavier than normal or more prolonged, or if it occurs after menopause.

Irregular bleeding is nothing to ignore. If left untreated, it can lead to infertility, anemia due to blood loss and increased risk of endometrial cancer.

The Dangers of Ignoring Irregular BleedingCommon causes

For most women, especially teenagers or those approaching menopause, irregular bleeding is caused by a hormone imbalance. When hormones are the problem, doctors call the problem dysfunctional uterine bleeding, or DUB. Polyps or fibroids that develop in the uterus can also cause bleeding. In some cases, irregular bleeding can be a sign of a thyroid problem, infection of the cervix or even cancer of the uterus.

Common Symptoms

It is important to monitor the frequency and amount of bleeding you are experiencing. Vaginal bleeding that occurs more often than every 3 weeks or farther apart than every 5 weeks is thought to be irregular. The same can be said for vaginal bleeding that lasts longer than 7 days. If you are passing blood clots or soaking through your usual pads or tampons each hour for 2 or more hours, bleeding may be considered severe.

Common Treatments

Birth control pills

Birth control pills contain hormones that can stop the lining of your uterus from getting too thick. Birth control pills can also help keep your menstrual cycle regular and reduce cramping. However, although rare, certain types of birth control pills can cause abnormal bleeding for some women. One of our Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett associates can help determine if birth control pills are the right choice for you.

Intrauterine device (IUD)

An IUD is a small, plastic device one of our providers inserts into your uterus through your vagina to block the fertilization of eggs. Certain kinds of IUD’s release hormones that can significantly reduce irregular bleeding. Like birth control pills, some IUD’s may cause abnormal bleeding so we will work together to choose the correct course of action.

Hysterectomy 

A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the uterus. After a hysterectomy procedure, you won’t have any more periods and you won’t be able to get pregnant. Hysterectomy is a major surgery that occasionally requires general anesthesia and a hospital stay as well as downtime for recovery. Because a hysterectomy removes the uterus, and in some cases the ovaries and cervix, it is important that we together discuss all of your options before opting for surgery.

Endometrial Ablation 

Endometrial ablation is a surgical procedure that destroys the lining of the uterus. Endometrial ablation may stop all menstrual bleeding in some women. However, it’s not unusual for some women to experience light bleeding or spotting after the procedure. It’s also not uncommon for women to have regular menstrual periods after the procedure. Women who have an endometrial ablation should still use some form of birth control even though pregnancy after the procedure is unlikely.

Irregular bleeding is more of an annoyance than a health risk, but it could be a sign of a serious medical problem.  Therefore, an evaluation by an experienced and board-certified gynecologist is important. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. You can also follow us on Facebook today.

We are excited and proud to welcome you to the official blog for Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett. Our blog will serve as a source of information and conversation on gynecology and wellness, information on our services, as well as the latest advances in the fields of gynecology and general women’s health.

The goal of this forum is to recapture the relationship between patient and doctor in hopes of creating and maintaining a viable, collaborative relationship with our patients. As the founder of Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, Dr. Kristine Gould, would like you to think of this blog as a place you can trust to deliver the information and expertise you need.

Please look around and learn more about the practice and the services we provide and let us know if there are any topics you are interested in learning more about.

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Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett
601 Professional Drive, Suite 330
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30046   
Phone: 678.380.1980   
Fax: 678.380.7348

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Monday 8:30AM–4:30PM
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