Treatment options for stress incontinence

Many people suffer from urinary incontinence, which is uncontrolled leakage of urine. Some people are too embarrassed to tell their health care provider that they are bothered with this problem.

There are different types of urinary incontinence, and a medical provider can help determine the type of incontinence a patient has. One type of incontinence many women can experience is stress urinary incontinence.

Stress urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine with effort or physical exertion such as with coughing, sneezing, exercise, jumping or lifting. This type of leakage occurs without an urge to urinate. Stress incontinence is typically the result of weakening of the pelvic floor muscles that support the urethra. This weakening can often occur as a result of childbirth.

In those who are not bothered by this leakage, stress urinary incontinence does not necessarily need to be treated, but it is important for people to know there are treatment options if they are bothered by their symptoms. This is particularly true if their incontinence is keeping them from pursuing certain activities and affecting quality of life.

Treatment options include non-surgical options such as pelvic floor exercises that can strengthen the weakened or damaged muscles, or supporting the urethra with an intravaginal device such as a pessary or over the counter support insert (e.g., Poise Impressa). Patients can perform pelvic floor exercises such as Kegels on their own, or they may undergo formal pelvic floor muscle training with a pelvic floor nurse or therapist. This therapy is offered in our Regional Urology Pelvic Floor Center.

There are also surgical treatment options for stress incontinence, including a urethral sling or a bulking agent. A specialist such as a urologist or urogynecologist can determine if a patient is a candidate for a surgical treatment.

Women do not need to let urinary incontinence keep them from enjoying life. Our providers at Regional Urology are available to evaluate and manage stress incontinence. Contact us to schedule a consultation if you are interested in further evaluation and discussion of treatment options.

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