Like balding or erectile dysfunction for men, far too many women believe that urinary incontinence is just a natural part of aging. About 40% of women over age 65 regularly struggle with this condition, and many of them avoid raising the subject with their doctor because of embarrassment.
The talented providers at The Center for Women’s Health in Newport News and Hampton, Virginia, are skilled and experienced in treating conditions that involve obstetrics, gynecology and urogynecology, and this includes female urinary incontinence.
Katherine Hilsinger, MD, FACOG; Douglas Thom, MD, FACOG; Cheri Coyle, MD, FACOG; John M. Fejes MD, FACOG; Mary E. Lynch-CNM, MS; Christine Dileo, DO; Branden A. Deyerle, MD; Kristi Taylor, WHNP-BC, are compassionate medical professionals who care about your health and well-being.
We use the latest and most advanced tools and technology to determine what is contributing to your case of urinary incontinence and crafting a tailored treatment plan that meets your unique needs. Together, you and your provider can help you regain control of your bladder, and your life.
Female urinary incontinence explained
Female urinary incontinence is the inability to hold in urine until you reach a bathroom. You may experience leaks or completely lose control and empty your bladder.
There are two main types of female incontinence: stress urinary incontinence and urgency urinary incontinence, which is also sometimes called overactive bladder. Some women may exhibit signs of both types, and this is called mixed urinary incontinence.
Stress incontinence is the most common type that affects younger women. It results from stress or pressure being placed on your pelvic floor, due to a weakening of your muscles that support the organs in this region; namely, the urethra and bladder.
Common symptoms include leaking small amounts of urine when you laugh, cough, or perform impact activities or exercises. Being overweight or obese can aggravate the condition, as well as the physical stresses of pregnancy and childbirth, as well as vaginal atrophy.
Vaginal atrophy occurs as you approach menopause and continues afterward, from changing hormone levels that affect your vagina’s health.
Urgency incontinence, or overactive bladder, isn’t as common as stress incontinence, and is mainly diagnosed in older women past childbearing age. This condition is manifested by sudden or desperate urges to urinate, and often results in accidents where you can’t make it to the bathroom in time. This urge can even occur with an almost empty bladder.
Urgency incontinence is actually a result of your bladder muscles sending signals in a sort of misfire, telling your brain that you need to urinate when this isn’t the case. It can also be caused by some medical conditions, which include:
- Abnormal nerve activity
- Muscle spasms
- Damage to your brain
- Neurological diseases
Treatment for female urinary incontinence
At The Center for Women’s Health, our specialists evaluate the cause of your incontinence and then create a treatment plan tailored for your specific needs.
This may include lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, or completing exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor.
If you suffer from urinary incontinence, don’t wait to share this with your OB/GYN. At The Center for Women’s Health, we’re here to help with any female health concerns you have throughout life.
Urinary incontinence may seem embarrassing, inconvenient, and restrictive, but we can help. Call our office most convenient to you to schedule a consultation with a member of our medical team today.