Female Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is simply the loss of bladder control and it's a far more common condition than you may realize. In fact, it's very likely that you or someone you know-your mother, sister, or best friend is quietly coping with this potentially embarrassing problem. Unfortunately, many don't realize that effective treatment options are helping women regain their comfort and confidence.
Did you know there are different types of female urinary incontinence?
- Stress Urinary Incontinence - Is caused by weakened or damaged pelvic floor muscles. If you experience unexpected accidents or loss of bladder control when you put stress on your bladder, especially when coughing, sneezing, lifting something heavy, or laughing at a joke, you may suffer from this condition.
- Urge Incontinence (overactive bladder) - Is the result of overactive muscles that contract frequently around the bladder. If you feel a sudden, overwhelming urge to use the restroom, even if you just went, and are unable to hold it long enough to get there, urge incontinence may be the reason.
- Mixed Incontinence - If both of these situations are familiar to you, you may have mixed incontinence, a combination of stress and urge incontinence.
In a quality of life study, more than 40% of women shared that incontinence interfered with their work and daily activities. Like many other women, what they may not realize is that they don't have to manage their condition with frequent visits to the restroom and uncomfortable pads and liners. Medical advances are giving many women a new lease on life.
New minimally invasive procedures for all types of urinary incontinence.
For women who've decided to seek treatment for stress urinary incontinence, they'll be glad to know that the options have changed dramatically since the days of their mothers and grandmothers. Now, more and more women are turning to minimally invasive treatment options. These new procedures are effective and often involve less pain and a shorter recovery time.
- Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises. Dr. DeBrakeleer was the first physician in Southeastern Pennsylvania to offer InTone. InTone is a unique pelvic floor muscle exercising device that incorporates biofeedback and can be used in the privacy of your own home.
- Urinary incontinence slings - Known as urethral support slings by specialists, these soft and flexible surgical mesh systems cradle the urethra like a hammock, providing additional support and helping to restore it to its normal anatomical position. Urethral support slings are proving to be an effective surgical procedure for stress urinary incontinence. These slings are placed in the outpatient setting under sedation and local anesthesia. The procedure itself usually takes less than 30 minutes.
- Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation is a treatment for overactive bladder and urge urinary incontinence. It consists of an acupuncture needle placed in the lower calf that provides a weekly 30 minute nerve stimulation treatment for 12 weeks. Over seventy percent of patients experience improvement or resolution of their bladder symptoms.
- Sacral nerve stimulation (Interstim) is performed by placing a small stimulator wire near the sacral nerve root. It is done under light sedation and patients will see within hours whether they have improvement or resolution of their overactive bladder and incontinence symptoms. If there is improvement/resolution and small coin sized generator is place in the upper buttock and left in place.
- Botox injections are now very successfully used to treat overactive bladder. These injections are done via scope in the office with minimal to no discomfort. This treatment provides excellent relief of overactive bladder and urge urinary incontinence for an average of six months and many times up to a year.