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Southern California Urology Institute
Gary Bellman, M.D., F.R.C.S.
Board Certified Urologist
Fellowship Trained, Certified in Robotic Surgery

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Female Urinary Incontinence: (Q)s & (A)s

By: Dr. Gary Bellman on June 10, 2016, 8:00 pm

Bladder leakage, also known as urinary incontinence, is the loss of bladder control for involuntary loss of urine. In fact, it’s very likely that you or someone you know--your mother, sister, or best friend—is quietly coping with this potentially embarrassing problem.
 
In a clinical study of 131 women, more than 40% reported that urinary incontinence affected their work or other activities; 1 in 3 women are said to experience bladder leakage in their lifetime. Less than 50% of women with urinary incontinence have discussed their symptoms with a health care provider.
 
What are the symptoms?
There are three basic types of urinary incontinence, and proper diagnosis is important for treatment success.
 
Stress incontinence: Leaking urine during physical activity, like laughing, lifting, exercising, coughing, or sneezing.
 
Urge incontinence:
Experiencing a sudden, intense need to urinate--even if you just went--but being unable to hold it long enough to reach a bathroom.
 
Mixed incontinence: A combination of stress and urge incontinence.

 
Can pregnancy-related urinary incontinence may fade away with time?

Some cases of post-pregnancy urinary incontinence do dissipate on their own after a few months, but it's no guarantee.  Instead of waiting it out, talk to your doctor about starting a Kegel exercise program immediately.
 
 
If you have bladder problems, is it wise to avoid rigorous exercise?

Working out is important for overall health and weight control.  Since carrying extra pounds is a risk factor for bladder leaks, and makes symptoms worse, it's key to keep on with a exercise routine!  However, you may want to ease up on running, jumping or high-impact aerobics, which can put extra strain and pressure on the bladder.
 
To help control leaks using a tampon before hitting the trails may be a great option.  It acts like a temporary pessary, a diaphragm-like device prescribed to support the bladder.
 
Is wearing a sanitary napkin fine for bladder-leak protection?
Menstrual pads aren't designed for urine, so they won't do a great job of absorbing it or controlling odor. Wearing the wrong pad can mean moisture around  most sensitive areas of the body, causing rash and irritation.  Specifically designed pads to absorb urine leaks, available at drugstores, are a better bet.
 
If bladder issues are so common during pregnancy and menopause, your doctor would have told you so.
 
Is it's ever too late to treat bladder problems?
Waiting a long time to seek treatment does prolong discomfort and may worsen your problem.  Weak pelvic floor muscles, for instance, continue to lose strength if you aren't actively building them up.
 
Can  a physical therapist (PT) ease bladder woes?

Many PTs specialize in helping women with pelvic floor disorders such as muscle weakness, incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.  They're trained to evaluate the health, flexibility and function of pelvic floor muscles, as well as posture and core strength.
 
Can drinking too much water increase your chances of an overactive bladder?
Many women severely limit their water intake, thinking it'll help control incontinence.  It won't. In reality, restricting fluids can lead to dehydration and constipation which can bring about or worsen bladder leaks. It is smart, however, to drink small amounts throughout the day instead of chugging big glasses at once.
 
Is it normal to get up to urinate two or more times a night?
Urine production often decreases at night, allowing most people to sleep 6-8 hours without having to use the bathroom.  To help ease the all-night up-and-down, drink as little as possible within 4 hours of bedtime. And if you're taking a diuretic for high blood pressure, ask your doctor if another drug might be a better choice at night.
 
Is a weak bladder  inevitable with age?

Bladder issues do tend to hit more often in older women, but that doesn't mean they are a normal and acceptable part of aging. Urinary incontinence, for example, is a medical problem that can be diagnosed and treated no matter your age.
 
Can my bladder shrink over the years?

Researchers have found that while bladder and urethral function can decline throughout adult life, your bladder capacity rarely changes.
 
If you think you’re experiencing symptoms of incontinence, we are here to answer your questions & provide help to alleviate symptoms.  Please contact our office today to set consultation.              
 

Dr. Gary C. Bellman
818.912.1899


 


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