No one likes to talk about urinary incontinence, but it’s a real condition that affects more women than you realize — about 10% of women under 65 and about 35% of women over 65. Women often suffer in silence because they’re too embarrassed to tell anyone they’re having a problem controlling their bladder. Who wants to say they had an accident?
Here at Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville, our goal is to provide you with compassionate care for urinary incontinence that gets results. We don’t want you to suffer anymore, so let’s take a look at this condition and how we can help.
What is urinary incontinence?
To put it plainly, urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control. Urine made by your kidneys is stored in your bladder, and when you need to urinate, your bladder muscles force the urine out through a tube called the urethra.
Sphincter muscles around your urethra must relax to let the urine out. However, if they’re not strong enough to hold the urethra shut when pressure is suddenly exerted on the bladder — if you laugh, sneeze, or exercise, for instance — urine can leak out. This is the most common kind of incontinence, called stress incontinence.
Urge incontinence occurs when you feel a sudden urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine before you can make it to the bathroom.
Incontinence affects twice as many women as men because pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause often cause damage to a woman’s pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder and urethra. Other factors that affect incontinence include being overweight, long-term constipation, certain medicines, caffeine, and infection.
How is incontinence treated?
You and your doctor should develop your treatment plan together based on your specific case. Here a few treatments our doctors might prescribe.
Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles are often helpful. Your doctor can explain how they work, and a pelvic floor physical therapist can provide further guidance if necessary. Staying consistent with the exercises gives you the best chance of better holding in urine.
Some behavioral techniques can also be beneficial. Going to the bathroom at set times each day helps train your bladder and helps control urge incontinence. You can track how often you go to the bathroom each day and then slowly lengthen the time in between visits to train your bladder to hold more urine.
If you’re overweight, your extra weight is putting more pressure on your bladder and muscles. Losing weight helps you regain bladder control. Changing your eating and drinking habits — limiting caffeine, carbonation, and alcohol — can also help.
Our doctors can treat bladder infection, if that’s what’s causing your incontinence, by prescribing antibiotics. Surgery is rarely required for incontinence, but if more conservative approaches aren’t working, we may recommend that you see a surgical specialist.
No matter how or why you’re experiencing urinary incontinence, our team at Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville wants to help you return to normal life. Call us today to set up your initial consultation and take the first step to getting your life back.