Urinary incontinence is a common complaint from women as they get older. Frequent incontinence can make it difficult to go about daily activities with family and friends. The good news is that there are several effective treatments available that can alleviate incontinence to a degree or entirely.
“There is no level of urinary incontinence that is normal for a woman to experience.” Said Dr. Craig Mayr, Billings Clinic urogynecologist. “It’s important to be evaluated by a physician if you are experiencing urine leakage that is affecting your life.”
According to Mayo Clinic, there are 5 types of urinary incontinence:
· Stress incontinence. Urine leaks when you exert pressure on your bladder by coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising or lifting something heavy.
· Urge incontinence. You have a sudden, intense urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine. You may need to urinate often, including throughout the night. Urge incontinence may be caused by a minor condition, such as infection, or a more serious condition such as a neurologic disorder or diabetes.
· Overflow incontinence. You experience frequent or constant dribbling of urine due to a bladder that doesn't empty completely.
· Functional incontinence. A physical or mental impairment keeps you from making it to the toilet in time. For example, if you have severe arthritis, you may not be able to unbutton your pants quickly enough.
· Mixed incontinence. You experience more than one type of urinary incontinence.
Women are more likely to have stress incontinence than men and age as well as other risk factors can contribute to the disorder. Additional risk factors for incontinence include:
· Being overweight
· Family history
· Certain medications
· Child birth
· Other diseases that can cause urine to leak
“Staying on top of your health can reduce the risk for incontinence and other urinary issues for women,” said Mayr. “Many women who reach menopause, however, experience incontinence even if they live a healthy lifestyle.”
Urogynecologists are specially trained physicians who work exclusively with women experiencing urinary tract or pelvic floor disorders like incontinence. They have many tools available to help women whose lives are affected by these common issues. They may include the use of medications, exercises, minimally invasive procedures, or surgery.
The Billings Clinic Urogynecology Department is uniquely experienced in pelvic floor disorders and has two specially-trained urogynecologists who will provide a thorough assessment and treatment options. In addition to incontinence, Billings Clinic urogynecologists Dr. Mayr and Dr. Erik Hokenstad specialize in:
· Pelvic organ prolapse
· Stress urinary incontinence
· Birth trauma, for example trauma to the perineum during childbirth
· Recurrent urinary tract infections
· Vaginal atrophy
· Urethral abnormalities
· Congenital abnormalities of the female reproductive tract
· Fistula repair
· Treatment for mesh complications
For information or to schedule an appointment, call 406-238-2501 or 800-332-7156. You can also learn more about the physicians at www.billingsclinic.com/urogyn.