Urinary incontinence, the constant urge to empty your bladder, can wreak havoc on your life if you are forced to live with it. The experienced team at The Center for Women's Health in Newport News and Hampton, Virginia, provides relief to those suffering from this condition.
Symptoms of incontinence
We generally diagnose this condition with an account of your symptoms, which may include:
- Stress incontinence. When you cough, laugh, or sneeze, you leak urine due to bladder pressure.
- Overflow incontinence. Your bladder doesn’t fully empty, so urine continually escapes.
- Urge incontinence. You feel the need to urinate often, even during the night. This may be due to infection or a more serious issue such as diabetes.
- Mixed incontinence. You suffer from two or more of these issues.
Let your doctor know if you experience ongoing pelvic pain, bladder spasms, pressure, or other symptoms, so we can help you get the relief you need.
Confirming incontinence and other bladder issues
We confirm your diagnosis by:
- Discussing your medical history
- Conducting a physical exam and taking a urine sample to test for blood or possible infection
- Ruling out pelvic nerve issues with a short neurological exam
- Performing a urinary stress test to note urine loss upon coughing or bearing down
If necessary, we pinpoint the root cause of your incontinence with additional bladder function tests to rule out more serious issues, such as bladder cancer or inflammation (cystitis). These include:
- Measuring bladder pressure
- Assessing urine left in your bladder after you urinate
- Taking images of your bladder in action
- Examining your bladder and urethra with a scope via cystoscopy
Causes of incontinence
Many of us experience that sudden urge to urinate or other symptoms of incontinence from time to time. This is often temporary and due to various issues. When your incontinence occurs on a regular basis, it’s time to get help. Your condition may be caused by:
- Menopause. Incontinence may result as our bodies produce less estrogen, which keeps the lining of the urethra and bladder in good shape.
- Pregnancy. The weight of the fetus combined with hormonal changes may bring on stress incontinence.
- Childbirth. Delivery via the birth canal may weaken bladder-control muscles or damage bladder nerves, causing your pelvic floor to drop (prolapse) causing incontinence.
- Hysterectomy. This surgery can impair your pelvic muscles, creating incontinence.
- Aging muscles. As we age, so does our bladder’s ability to store urine, which can lead to incontinence.
Other more serious issues include tumors that block urine flow, prostate cancer in men, or neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, strokes, or spinal injuries.
Help is on the way
Our compassionate doctors ease your mind and help control your symptoms. We suggest a variety of ways to lessen your risk of or experience with incontinence, such as:
- Performing pelvic floor exercises to strengthen that area
- Eating more fiber to prevent constipation, which can lead to incontinence
- Losing weight, if overweight
- Avoiding bladder irritants, such as acidic foods, caffeine, and alcohol
If your condition doesn’t improve, consider using a vaginal pessary, a removable device that fits in your vagina to offset any prolapse. We can also prescribe medications to help bladder muscles relax or increase your bladder’s capacity. If these don’t work, we also offer a minimally invasive surgical sling procedure to implant a mesh-type device beneath your bladder for support.
If you’d like to discuss this or any other health issues with one of our doctors, simply contact all or book a consultation online with The Center for Women's Health today.