Urinary incontinence (UI) can be an embarrassing consequence of perimenopause and menopause. Or, you may have developed incontinence during pregnancy or after childbirth.
Nobody wants to wear adult diapers. Nor do you want to line your panties for life. But urinary incontinence can be extremely embarrassing and inconvenient. Depending on whether you have urge incontinence, stress incontinence, or both, you may struggle with:
- Leaking urine when you cough, laugh, or jump
- Feeling like you can’t fully empty your bladder
- Nearly “losing it” before reaching the bathroom
- Frequent nighttime awakenings due to a full bladder
More than 40% of women aged 65 or up suffer from some type of UI. However, you can treat UI and take back control of your life (and your bladder).
At Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville, our expert and understanding OB/GYNs Daniel McDyer, MD, FACOG, and Julian Stephen Suhrer, MD, diagnose and treat UI at our two Jacksonville, Florida, offices. If you have UI, the following are some treatment options that can bring you peace of mind and confidence again.
If your UI is the result of hormonal imbalances that occur during perimenopause or menopause, you could benefit from hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Once your hormone levels normalize with HRT, you see and feel improvements throughout your entire body, including:
- Reduced UI
- More lubricated vagina
- No night sweats or hot flashes
- Clearer thinking and memory
- Stronger bones
We recommend bioidentical HRT that mimics your body’s own natural hormones. Customized HRT treatments help your body keep all of your tissues strong and healthy, including your bladder and supporting pelvic floor muscles.
Antibiotics or other medications
Sometimes you develop UI as a result of a urinary tract infection (UTI) or another type of infection, including sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If we detect the presence of a pathogen or infection when we conduct a UI exam, we may prescribe a course of antibiotics. Your UI should improve once the infection clears.
You might also benefit from medications that help your bladder relax so that it can hold urine for longer periods of time. Medications can also subdue inflammation or irritation in your bladder that may be causing your UI.
If you’re worried about UI, you may urinate before you leave the house or any time you’re near a bathroom, “just in case.” Unfortunately, this type of prophylactic urinating actually trains your bladder to hold smaller and smaller amounts of urine. That’s just the opposite of what you want to do.
You might also decide to stop drinking as much water as your body really needs so that you don’t have to pee as frequently. Although cutting down on water before bedtime may help you sleep better, be sure to keep your daily total the same. Your entire body — including your bladder — needs plenty of water to stay healthy and hydrated.
To help with UI, we may recommend bladder training exercises, where you learn to time your trips to the bathroom. You extend the time between bathroom breaks more and more until you only urinate once your bladder is full.
Pelvic floor training
You’ve probably heard about Kegel exercises, which strengthen all of the muscles in your pelvic floor. Kegels can be difficult to do correctly. Doing them incorrectly can actually make your pelvic floor muscles weaker.
We may refer you to a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor rehabilitation. Strong pelvic floor muscles help you hold onto urine even when you jump, cough, or sneeze.
Although it’s rare, sometimes surgery is needed to correct UI. However, we always recommend exploring all the lifestyle and other therapeutic interventions first whenever possible. Even losing weight can help take pressure off your bladder and may improve your UI.
Whatever type of incontinence you have, you deserve relief. Contact our supportive team at either of our two Jacksonville, Florida, locations nearest you for UI treatment today. You can also use our online appointment form.