Urinary Incontinence

With age, your urinary sphincter may begin to lose some of its original strength. For many women, this process speeds up after childbirth. The team at Southern Women's Specialists Gynecology and Urogynecology in Fairhope, Alabama, understands the inconvenience, fear of public humiliation, and the additional sanitary product expenses that come with urinary incontinence. Located in Fairhope, Alabama, the practice offers several solutions to help you regain control over your body and self-confidence again. If urinary incontinence is affecting your everyday life, call or schedule an appointment online at Southern Women's Specialists Gynecology and Urogynecology today.

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What is urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is the inability to control when the bladder releases urine.  There are several different classifications of urinary incontinence, but the most common form is stress incontinence. Stress incontinence occurs when pressure from laughing, coughing, sneezing, exercising, or lifting causes a patient to leak urine unexpectedly.  The next most common form is urge incontinence and this occurs when the ability to suppress the urge is overcome by the bladder and it empties.  Common symptoms are constant urgency and going very frequently as well as getting up at night more than twice to empty.

How do I know if I’m incontinent?

If you have trouble holding in your urine, you’re likely incontinent. There are several factors that may increase your chances of being incontinent, including:

  • Recent childbirth
  • Pregnancy
  • Aging
  • Obesity
  • Recent hysterectomy or other gynecological procedures
  • Menopause
  • Neurological conditions (i.e. multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s)
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Diabetes

Beyond these, there are other pre-existing conditions that may include urinary incontinence as a symptom or side-effect. If you suffer from these or other conditions involving your bladder or pelvis, talk to your provider at Southern Women's Specialists Gynecology and Urogynecology to find out if you are a candidate for urinary incontinence treatment.

What are causes of Urinary Incontinence?

Pregnancy and childbirth can lead to stress incontinence because of the strain and stretch it puts on the pelvic muscles and nerves.  Obesity, chronic straining with constipation or chronic coughing can put pressure on the pelvic muscles and nerves leading to damage over time.  Urge incontinence,also known as Overactive Bladder (OAB), is usually idiopathic, i.e. there is no found cause, and seems to increase with age. The decreased estrogen levels associated with menopause can also affect one’s ability to control her bladder and may lead to stress or urge incontinence and these frequently occur together.

What are my treatment options?

The physicians at Southern Women’s Specialists offer a number of treatments including:

A unique technology by InMode, FormaV, to improve function and revitalize the pelvic floor tissues including the urinary bladder and urethra with radio frequency energy.  We also use this treatment for OAB and often in combination with the Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections under the urethra, also known as the O-shot®,for stress incontinence.

Non-surgical therapy also begins with scheduled voiding intervals and pelvic muscle exercises (Kegels), which help to keep the pelvic muscles strong to support urinary health.

We often refer patients to specialists in pelvic floor physical therapy, to aid with the treatment of both OAB and stress incontinence.

Pessaries are silicon devices that can be fitted to the vagina to improve stress incontinence, and also relieve the symptoms of vaginal vault prolapse.

Minimally invasive mesh slings (tension free vaginal tape)implant a strap of material to support the urethra, which helps to keep the urethra closed when a person coughs, sneezes, laughs, or exercises.

Urethral bulking with Coaptite is a minimally invasive option for stress incontinence either prior to sling placement, or to improvere current or persistent stress incontinence after a sling has been placed.

Treatments specifically for urge incontinence and overactive bladder (OAB) include:

FormaV

FormaV technology delivering radio frequency to the bladder and urethra improving OAB.

OAB medications

OAB medications can help many women with frequency, urgency,nighttime voiding, and urge incontinence.  We encourage the use of vaginal estrogen inpatients to improve OAB.

Botox®

Botulinum toxin (Botox®) can be injected into the bladder wall (this is done in the office with no down time).

InterStim™

Interstim® therapy is an implanted device that provides continuous neuro modulation.  This is commonly referred to as a “bladder pacemaker” and is implanted on an outpatient basis.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a therapy aimed at tightening your muscles. PRP can be used to tighten the muscles of your pelvic floor, thus allowing you to regain control of your urinary flow.

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