The prevalence of urinary incontinence in the United States is much higher than you may think, especially among women. For example, one out of three women report stress urinary incontinence, and nearly 37% of women between the ages of 30 and 45 suffer from overactive bladder (OAB).
At Advanced Endometriosis Center, with locations in New York City and Hackensack, New Jersey, Ulas Bozdogan, MD, and our team specialize in women’s health issues, and we offer the most advanced techniques available to help our patients take back control of their health. So, when it comes to embarrassing problems with urinary incontinence, we’re here to help.
To that end, here’s a look at the three most common types of urinary incontinence and, more importantly, how we can provide treatment.
Types of urinary incontinence
Urinary incontinence is basically categorized into three types, and they are as follows:
Stress urinary incontinence
This type of incontinence is the most prevalent among women. It occurs when there’s pressure on the bladder, which leads to leakage or incontinence.
The reason this issue strikes women more than men is manyfold. Let’s start with one of the more obvious distinctions — pregnancy. As a woman’s baby grows, it places increasing pressure on her bladder, which means any sneeze, cough, or laugh can lead to urinary leakage.
Even after you give birth, you may still experience problems with stress urinary incontinence, because the tissues that support your urinary tract could have weakened during pregnancy.
The final problem accounts for most cases of stress urinary incontinence — age. After women pass through menopause, their reproductive hormone levels drop precipitously, which can lead to declining tissue health, inside and out. This means that your pelvic floor, as well as the tissues that support your urinary tract, can begin to lose strength. And since the urethra in women is far shorter than that of a man’s, incontinence is more likely to develop.
Overactive bladder (OAB) or urge incontinence
This incontinence problem causes you to have a sudden urge to urinate and an inability to control this urge, even at night. Urge incontinence can develop for many reasons, including:
- Nerve damage
- Certain medications
- Weak pelvic muscles
- Carrying excess weight
- Hormonal changes
As you can see by this list, some causes of OAB are temporary, such as medications, while others are more chronic.
This last form of urinary incontinence serves as a catchall for women who report characteristics of both types of urinary incontinence — stress and urge.
Now that we have a better understanding of what drives urinary incontinence, let’s take a look at how we can help. Our first step is to figure out the underlying cause of your urinary leakage so we can determine the best steps moving forward.
Typically, we start conservatively with exercises, medications, and lifestyle tweaks. For example, Kegel exercises can greatly strengthen your pelvic floor to better support your bladder. As another example, if you have urge incontinence, we may recommend bladder training.
If your issues with incontinence persist, we can get more aggressive with bladder slings, pessaries, inserts, or bulking procedures — adding bulk to your urethra — all of which may be able to help you better control your urinary tract.
If we need to go a surgical route, Dr. Bozdogan is an expert in minimally invasive and robot-assisted surgery, including the da Vinci® robotic system.
If you’re tired of struggling with urinary incontinence, we can help. To learn more about treatment options, book an appointment online or over the phone with Advanced Endometriosis Center today.