Is Leaking Urine Normal?
If you’ve ever been pregnant, you likely know what it’s like to leak a little urine when you sneeze or laugh. It’s very common, but when is it something you should see a doctor about?
While urinary incontinence is common and nothing that you should feel embarrassed about, the involuntary leakage of urine is not normal. The issue increases with age. In fact, up to 75% of women age 65 and over report urine leakage. However, it can occur at any age.
Despite being a common problem, many women who experience urine leakage are reluctant to seek professional help or discuss the issue with their health care team. Some women find it embarrassing to discuss their symptoms, while others mistake it for a normal part of aging or childbirth.
What is urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of bladder control. Here at Caring for Women’s Health, Dr. Lori Davidson and our team routinely help women get relief from bladder control issues. The two most common types of urinary incontinence that affect women are urge incontinence and stress incontinence.
Urge incontinence is commonly referred to as overactive bladder. It’s characterized by a sudden, powerful urge to urinate and can cause urine to leak when it shouldn’t.
Stress incontinence refers to the involuntary leakage of urine caused by activities that increase pressure on the pelvic floor, such as laughing, coughing, sneezing or jumping. Women with this type of urinary incontinence tend to limit their activities to reduce the chances of having bladder leakage.
Urine leakage isn’t normal
In both types of urinary incontinence, bladder leakage isn’t normal and can be treated. It is true that urinary incontinence is more common as you age, during pregnancy and after childbirth. Still, there are treatments to help you gain control of your bladder and gain relief from your symptoms.
What causes urinary incontinence?
Various factors combine to contribute to urinary incontinence. In women with stress incontinence, weak pelvic floor muscles can make it hard for the bladder to keep urine in when pressure increases in the pelvic floor area. The pelvic floor consists of a group of muscles that form a sort of hammock to accommodate the bladder, bowel and uterus.
In women with urge incontinence, the bladder may contract too often, hence the term “overactive bladder.” Researchers are still working to understand the exact cause of urge incontinence, but too frequent bladder contractions seem to contribute to symptoms.
Urinary incontinence impacts well-being
Urine leakage often adversely affects a woman’s well-being. You may develop anxiety over the fear of having an embarrassing episode while at work or during social engagements. Your quality of life at work or home may suffer. You may feel too embarrassed to discuss it with your friends, family, or providers.
For women with stress incontinence, nonsurgical treatment options include an intravaginal pessary. This is a device your provider inserts. Different types of pessaries are used for different pelvic floor problems, such as urine incontinence. The knob present in incontinence ring pessaries exerts external pressure on the urethra to reduce stress pressure from daily activities.
Surgical options are available when other therapies fail to provide sufficient improvement. The midurethral sling has a high success rate. The procedure involves utilizing a synthetic mesh material that is positioned to replace the damaged fibromuscular sling support under the midsegment of the urethra. The sling procedure is considered minor surgery. Patients often go home the same day with minor limitations.
For women with urge incontinence, medications that relax bladder muscles are commonly used as first-line therapeutic options. Injections offer reasonable improvements in symptoms.
The surgical implantation of a device that helps modulate the neuronal circuitry known as sacral nerve root modulation is available for severe symptoms that fail to respond to conventional treatment options.
Seeking professional help
Although urine incontinence is common, it isn’t normal. Appropriate evaluation is necessary to get to the root of the problem. Treatment options are available to help optimize quality of life. With the help of a gynecological professional, you can gain control and put a stop to bladder leakage. Call our Greenwood, Indiana office and speak with one of our team members to learn more and schedule an appointment with Dr. Davidson or book online today.