Embarrassed by Your Urinary Incontinence? We Can Help

Embarrassed by Your Urinary Incontinence? We Can Help

Have you ever been mortified by a urinary accident? You might have sneezed and experienced a leak, or maybe you were on your way to the bathroom, but you didn’t quite make it. 

Urinary incontinence is stressful and embarrassing, and it plagues far more women than men. It’s important to know that you’re far from alone. It’s now known that 25%-45% of women have an instance of incontinence at least once a year

Dr. Peter Khamvongsa is triple board certified, and he and the team at the Miami Institute for Women’s Health care about your health. One of our specific areas of service is diagnosis and treatment of urinary incontinence. Dr. Khamvongsa is careful and thorough with his diagnostic process and offers state-of-the-art treatments.

Understanding the different types of female urinary incontinence

Many women experience incontinence after they’ve had a baby, and your chances of having an accident increases with age, as well — particularly if you’re over 50. Nearly half of women in that age group struggle with leaks, but only some of these cases are menopause-related. 

Chronic neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease or epilepsy can cause incontinence, as can certain gynecological conditions, like pelvic organ prolapse.   

Urinary incontinence is actually an umbrella term for several types of incontinence: 

1. Stress Incontinence

This un-fun phenomenon happens when you have a leak while doing something like coughing, laughing, or lifting something heavy. This happens because these actions put pressure on your bladder muscles and actually cause stress to them. 

2. Urge incontinence

This type of incontinence is characterized by a sudden, strong urge to go, but you don’t make it to the bathroom in time. It’s bad enough to experience this in the comfort of your own home, but urge incontinence poses real problems if you’re at the office or a social event. 

Unfortunately, urge incontinence can cause you to visit the bathroom many times a day. 

3. Overflow incontinence

This is when your bladder doesn’t empty completely when you go to the bathroom. Because of this, you notice a leak later on, or even a continuous trickle. 

4. Functional incontinence

If a mental or physical health issue prevents you from being able to access the toilet, and you have an accident, it’s classified as functional incontinence. You may experience this problem if you're in a wheelchair, for example, or if you have a condition that leaves you cognitively impaired, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

5. Mixed incontinence

It’s possible to have more than one type of incontinence. A mixture of two or more of the previously described kinds of incontinence counts as mixed incontinence. 

Perhaps these descriptions gave you an inkling about what kind or kinds of incontinence you’re suffering with. True incontinence isn’t a temporary thing, like a urinary tract infection (UTI). 

How can my incontinence be treated?

Dr. Khamvongsa offers an array of treatments depending on the type of incontinence you have. 

He makes his diagnosis by asking about the history and specific symptoms of your incontinence — how often it happens, how it occurs (do you make it to the bathroom or not?), or whether you’ve recently had a baby. Then he creates a customized treatment plan for you. 

Conservative treatments for incontinence include prescription medications and dietary changes. For example, Dr. Khamvongsa might suggest that you reduce your consumption of caffeinated beverages, carbonated soft drinks, and alcohol, and skip the spicy dishes. 

Pelvic floor exercises, such as Kegels, can also improve leaks, and estrogen therapy through hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, can solve incontinence problems in addition to menopausal symptoms. 

Devices like catheters and urethral inserts are also options. A catheter drains urine from your bladder, while a urethral insert is a single-use, pliable balloon you insert into your urethra that blocks the urine from leaking out. If you need to urinate, you must remove it first. Dr. Khamvongsa might also suggest using a pessary, which supports vaginal tissues that are weakened from pelvic organ prolapse

Minimally invasive treatments like botulinum toxin injections are not just for your face. They can relax your bladder muscles to eliminate symptoms, are easy to tolerate, and offer quick relief. 

Electrical stimulation, or “E-stim,” employs a mild electric current directed at your pelvic muscles or lower back nerves to halt incontinence, because they’re associated with urination.  

Surgical solutions also exist for incontinence, like the placement of a sling that acts like a hammock to support your urethra and the neck area of your bladder. Pelvic organ prolapse surgery can also treat incontinence. 

It’s time to free yourself from worrying about leaks. Make an appointment with Dr. Khamvongsa by calling our office at 786-220-8664 or booking online

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