Active Solutions to Urinary Leakage
Increasingly, I find myself consulting with women at younger ages who are pushing themselves physically in strength and conditioning programs such as CrossFit, Yoga, Pilates and others. As much as they love working out, these women continually reiterate that life would be a lot more enjoyable and relaxing if they could count on being dry at the end of a workout, or at the end of the day. Urinary incontinence or “leakage” affects millions of Americans, with 85% of them being women over the age of 30. When it comes to urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, trust me, you are not alone.
Unfortunately, many women do not seek options for correcting these often easily correctable issues. Many accept this as a routine consequence of childbirth, or mistakenly assume that this is something they must live with as they age. Fortunately, there are many options for treating incontinence and prolapse, and the success rate for those who choose treatment is very high.
A common type of leakage in younger, active women is STRESS INCONTINENCE, although it occurs at all ages. Stress incontinence describes leakage with coughing, sneezing, exercising, lifting children or heavy objects, and even laughing. With the increasing popularity of strenuous cross-training and other gym classes and programs, this is becoming more of a topic among young, healthy, physically fit women. In my professional opinion, stress incontinence is the easiest type of incontinence to cure, with up to a 90-95% cure rate.
Stress incontinence is generally treated with a minimally invasive OUTPATIENT procedure that takes about 10-15 minutes. You will have no visible incisions, and you will go home about an hour after the procedure, and commonly be dry by that evening. The vast majority of my patients undergoing this short procedure report immediate cure of incontinence or at least drastic improvement. After this procedure, you will be back to your normal day-to-day activities within a day or two, but I do recommend taking some time off from strenuous workouts or exercise. Another type is URGE INCONTINENCE. This presents with frequency, waking up several times at night to go, or urgently seeking a restroom on a regular basis. This can be caused by an “overactive bladder,” a condition where your bladder seems to have a mind of its own, regardless of where you happen to be or what you are doing. Urge incontinence is typically treated with medication and behavioral modification that will aim to “relax” the bladder and decrease its over activity. We will tailor these modifications to your specific situation.
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is common in women as well. When the muscles and ligaments supporting the pelvic organs weaken, they can slip out of place (prolapse). It is common to develop POP after menopause, childbirth (vaginal or C-section) or a hysterectomy. Women often think they must live with prolapse, and are convinced that enduring this is simply just “part of getting older.”
Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse:
- Feeling pressure from pelvic organs pressing against the vaginal wall.
- Feeling as if something is falling out of your vagina.
- Having pain in your vagina during sex.
- Bladder problems such as pain, incontinence, overactive bladder or trouble emptying.
- Symptoms often made worse with prolonged or vigorous physical activity.
Similar to incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse can be treated in a number of ways. We will discuss the most appropriate cure for you once your workup is complete and we know exactly the cause of your specific problem.
At The Jackson Clinic Urology Department, our initial evaluation is relatively easy. On your initial visit, your individual history and symptoms are discussed. Any non-urologic causes of these issues are ruled out, and we will commonly screen for a UTI or blood in the urine. We often will utilize specialized and minimally-invasive office studies to help us distinguish between urge and stress incontinence.
This entire workup can be done in the office with minimal discomfort. Insurance providers typically cover the evaluation and treatment options that we offer.
Urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapsed do not have to be a reality for most women. Evaluation of this condition can be accomplished often in a single appointment. If we can help you or your family members with the treatment of urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, or any other urologic issue, please contact us at The Jackson Clinic Department of Urology at 731-422-0330.
Dr. Timothy C. Davenport