Urinary Incontinence Treatment
Are you one of the many women who suffer in silence from stress urinary incontinence (SUI)? You are not alone as up to 35% of women complain of SUI. Uncontrolled loss of urine may result in embarrassment, isolation, or limit your work, social life, sex life, exercise and leisure activities.
SUI occurs when physical movement or activity, such as coughing, sneezing, sex, running or heavy lifting, puts pressure on your bladder and results in uncontrolled loss of urine. This occurs when the pelvic floor muscles and other tissues that support the bladder, and the muscles that regulate the release of urine (urinary sphincter) weaken. These muscles can weaken due to childbirth, smoking, chronic cough, obesity, hysterectomy, menopause, and aging.
The good news is, with urinary incontinence treatment, you’ll likely be able to manage your stress incontinence and improve your overall well-being. Below are some treatment options:
Health and Lifestyle Changes
- Consider changing the amount and timing of fluids you consume during the day and evening. It is important, however, not to limit the amount you drink in order to avoid dehydrated.
- Quit smoking
- Lose weight if you are overweight or obese. If you need help with this, please see Temi Correll, our registered dietician.
- Treating a chronic cough will lessen your risk of stress incontinence as well as improve your symptoms.
- More frequent voiding of the bladder may reduce the number and/or severity of urge incontinence episodes.
- May be beneficial for mild to moderate SUI and works by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. The beauty of Kegels is you can do them discreetly just about anytime, whether you’re driving in your car, in a meeting at work, or relaxing on the couch. Make it part of your routine.
- The muscles you are trying to strengthen are those you use to stop your urine midstream.
- Here’s how to do Kegels: Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for five seconds, and then relax for five seconds. Try it four or five times in a row. Work up to keeping the muscles contracted for 10 seconds at a time, relaxing for 10 seconds between contractions.
- For best results, focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles and not the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks.
- Don’t hold your breath, as it is important to breathe freely during the exercises.
- Do not do Kegel exercises to start and stop your urine stream as that can lead to incomplete emptying of the bladder, increasing the risk of a urinary tract infection.
- Repeat three times a day with a goal of at least three sets of 10 repetitions a day.
- If you do Kegel exercises regularly, you can expect results within a few weeks to a few months.
- It is important to make Kegel exercises a permanent part of your daily routine.
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
- Involves biofeedback and exercises to encourage relaxation and strengthening of the muscles of the lower pelvis.
- There is current scientific evidence that vaginal laser may be a useful, minimally invasive approach for treating urine incontinence. A recent clinical trial showed an 82% reported improvement in symptoms at 3-month follow-up.
- Injectable bulking agents. Synthetic material may be injected into tissues around the upper portion of the urethra (a tubular structure that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body and empties just above the vaginal opening). They bulk the area around the urethra, improving the closing ability of the sphincter. This is relatively noninvasive but is a temporary repair and multiple injections are required for most people.
- Retropubic colposuspension. This surgical procedure is usually done laparoscopically or by abdominal incision and uses sutures attached either to ligaments or to bone to lift and support tissues near the bladder neck and upper portion of the urethra.
- Sling procedure. The most common procedure where the surgeon uses the person’s own tissue, synthetic material (mesh), or animal or donor tissue to create a sling or hammock that supports the urethra.
For more information onurinary incontinence treatments, please call for a consultation with Dr. Sandra Fleming to determine what the best treatment option is for you.
Conveniently located at Playhouse Square at the corner of Forest Street and Washington Street in Wellesley, MA.