What does it mean if you have urinary incontinence?

Many women are not able to hold their urine until they can get to a bathroom. This is called urinary incontinence or bladder leakage or loss of bladder control.

Incontinence can often be temporary, and it always caused by an underlying medical condition. Millions of Americans experience loss of bladder control. However, women suffer from incontinence twice as often as men do. Both women and men can have trouble with bladder control from neurological (nerve) injury, birth defects, strokes, multiple sclerosis (MS), and physical problems associated with aging. Older women have more bladder control problems than younger women do.

The loss of bladder control is not something that has to happen as you grow older. It can be treated and often cured, whatever your age.

Don’t let embarrassment keep you from talking with us about your options. We use a very individualized approach to find the right treatment for each woman. In many cases, innovative non-surgical treatments are the answer.

Our innovative approaches include:

Electrical stimulation: Brief doses of electrical stimulation can strengthen muscles in the lower pelvis in a way similar to exercising the muscles.

Biofeedback: With the assistance of a trained therapist, biofeedback uses measuring devices to help you become aware of your body’s functioning.

Cystoscopic Botox Injections: Approximately 80% of women treated with Botox injections in the bladder have resolution of the uninhibited bladder contractions resulting in urge symptoms and incontinence. The effect lasts 6-9 months in most patients before needing to be repeated.

Interstim Implant: This is an implanted device - a sort of “pacemaker” for the bladder. Once implanted the device will work for 5-10 years at which time the battery will need to be replaced.

Medication: Certain medications can reduce many types of leakage and can also help tighten or strengthen pelvic floor muscles and muscles around the urethra. Some drugs, especially hormones such as estrogen, are believed to cause related muscles to function normally.

Pessary: A pessary is a stiff ring that is inserted by a health care provider into the vagina, where it presses against the wall of the vagina and the nearby urethra.

Timed voiding or bladder training: These techniques help you train your bladder to hold urine better and can be effective for urge incontinence and overflow incontinence.

Transvaginal Slings: This is the current gold standard for the surgical repair of stress urinary incontinence. The risks of erosion are less than 1% and 90% of the women experience successful resolution of incontinence issues.

Urethral bulking: Substances are injected into tissues around the urethra to add bulk and help the urethra to stay closed. This is an office procedure.

Urethral Inserts (femsoft): A urethral insert is a small device that you place inside the urethra, a technique that you can learn to do yourself. It is removed for urination and replaced.