A common, treatable condition.
Urinary incontinence is the unintentional release of urine. If
you think you may have urinary incontinence, it's important to know
that it can be treated - you don't have to live with it. Today
there are many treatment options that can help you gain control
over this condition and improve the quality of your life.
Stress incontinence (sudden urine loss) is the
unintentional release of urine during normal everyday activities.
This is the most common type of urinary incontinence in women,
accounting for 60 percent of all cases.
If you have this condition, you may lose urine when you:
- Laugh, sneeze, or cough
- Walk, exercise, or lift something
- Get up from a seated or lying position
- You may also go to the bathroom frequently throughout the day
to avoid accidents.
Stress incontinence has two basic causes. Usually it is caused
by a weakening in the pelvic floor muscles that support the organs
of the lower urinary tract. A strong pelvic floor keeps the urethra
tightly sealed until it's time to urinate. A weakened pelvic floor
cannot hold the urethra in its correct position, since any movement
that puts pressure on the bladder (such as a sneeze) may cause the
urethra to lose its seal and allow urine to escape.
Another cause of stress incontinence is intrinsic sphincter
deficiency (ISD). Normally, the sphincter muscles hold the urethra
closed until it's time to urinate, when they relax their grip and
allow urine to flow. However in women with ISD, the sphincter
muscles don't function as they should, which can cause urine to
leak during movements that put pressure on the bladder.
Some of the other factors that may contribute to stress
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Menopause or estrogen deficiency
- Gynecologic surgery
- Obesity Strenuous exercise
Urge incontinence or overactive
bladder, as it is sometimes called, is a sudden, intense
urge to urinate, followed by a loss of urine. You may feel like you
never get to the bathroom fast enough, or you may be awakened
several times a night by the strong urge to urinate. Urge
incontinence is most commonly caused by overactive bladder muscles,
not by weakness in the pelvic floor.
Overflow incontinence may make you feel as if
you never completely empty your bladder. It may be caused by
dysfunctioning nerves or a blockage in the urethra that prevents
the flow of urine. This leaves the bladder at least partially full
at all times.
Mixed incontinence is a combination of both
stress and urge incontinence. It's a type that occurs often in
When other therapy approaches fail, surgery may be required to
treat the underlying cause of incontinence. Surgical treatment may
deliver the most reliable, permanent results. There are many
different kinds of surgeries, and each is recommended for a
specific type of cause of incontinence.
Many women fear the pain and recovery from surgery and are
reluctant to explore this option. However, several of today's
procedures are simpler and less invasive than those used in the
past. If appropriate, your doctor will recommend the right
procedure for you.
Gynecare TVT, is a minimally invasive surgical
procedure, appropriate for some women with stress urinary
incontinence. The procedure can be performed under local anesthesia
and takes only about half an hour to complete. The recovery period
following the procedure is short, and patients experience few
complications and minimal scarring after surgery. Gynecare TVT is a
doctor-applied ribbon-like strip that stops urine leakage the way
your body was designed to - by supporting your urethra. You can go
back to your routine in just a day or two.
InterStim Therapy for Urinary Control is
indicated for the treatment of urinary retention and the symptoms
of overactive bladder, including urinary urge incontinence and
signficant symptoms of urgency-frequency alone or in combination,
in patients who have failed or could not tolerate more conservative
InterStim Therapy uses a small device to send mild electrical
pulses to a nerve located in the lower back (just above the
tailbone). This nerve, called the sacral nerve, influences the
bladder and surrounding muscles that manage urinary function. The
electrical stimulation may eliminate or reduce certain bladder
control symptoms in some people. The system is surgically placed
under the skin, typically in the upper buttock or abdomen.
For more information about InterStim
Therapy for Urinary Control, please contact Jennifer Malossi, MD at