Bladder Control & Incontinence
The study and treatment of female pelvic medicine, pelvic floor reconstruction and incontinence, urogynecology combines two specialized fields of medicine: urology and gynecology. DMC Women and Infant Services offers experts in the field of urogynecology, focusing on the female urinary and reproductive systems and the pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor is made up of muscles, ligaments and tissues, all supporting the main organs of the lower abdomen, including the bladder, uterus, vagina, intestines and rectum. Your pelvic floor supports these organs, preventing them from dropping below their normal positions.
There are many ways your pelvic floor can be damaged, both neurologically or by some other trauma. Causes of pelvic floor issues include medical conditions or injuries that impact the health of nerves such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, back surgery, spinal stenosis, or childbirth trauma, as well as physical damage from childbirth, repeated heavy lifting, chronic disease or surgery.
Women with weakness of the pelvic muscles or tears in the connective tissue may begin to have problems controlling their bladders and bowels. This results in urine leakage (urinary incontinence), bowel gas or stool leakage (anal incontinence), overactive bladders, difficulty emptying their bladders (voiding dysfunction) or difficulty having bowel movements (constipation).
Pelvic floor disorders can lead to the following conditions:
- Incontinence — loss of bladder or bowel control, including leakage.
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse — dropping of pelvic organs below their normal location.
- Chronic Pelvic Pain — discomfort, burning or other uncomfortable pelvic symptoms.
- Overactive Bladder — frequent need to urinate, uncomfortable bladder pressure, urge incontinence and difficulty holding a full bladder.
- Emptying Disorders — difficulty urinating or moving bowels.
11 Million American women have a secret: they suffer from urinary incontinence, the leakage of small amounts of urine or frequent and sometimes uncontrollable urination. Thankfully, you don’t need to accept incontinence as a normal part of life; it’s usually treatable and often curable.
Urinary incontinence is the leakage of small amounts of urine or frequent and sometimes uncontrollable urination. Common in women, it frequently occurs as you age but is not a natural part of aging. Younger women of childbearing age and female athletes may also experience incontinence.
All types of urinary incontinence can be treated, but early intervention is very important. Treatment will depend on the type of incontinence you have and what the underlying cause is.
Coughing, laughing, heavy lifting and strenuous activities can bring on urine leakage in women with stress incontinence. This type is usually caused by weakening pelvic floor muscles and is sometimes caused by childbirth and/or surgery.
When the muscle wall of the bladder is overactive you can experience the sudden urge to urinate and often can’t make it to the bathroom in time. Also known as overactive bladder, this form of incontinence can be due to infections in the bladder or urethra and muscle spasms from a variety of causes.
Many women experience both urge and stress incontinence, also known as mixed incontinence. With mixed incontinence, the two types of incontinence may be caused by different factors and must be examined and treated independently.
Accurately identifying the cause of incontinence is the first step in successfully treating the disorder. The incontinence experts at DMC Women and Infant Services are highly skilled in incontinence diagnosis and have helped hundreds of women with urinary incontinence and pelvic floor disorders.
Urogynecologists at DMC Women and Infant Services work closely with other specialists to provide a multidisciplinary approach to the management of urinary incontinence and pelvic floor disorders. These include non-surgical and surgical treatments.
Non-Surgical Treatments include physical therapy, medication, special devices and other treatments, such as electrical stimulation, biofeedback, collagen implants and catheterization.
Doctors usually suggest surgery only after other treatments have been tried. Many surgical options have high rates of success and our surgeons perform the latest, minimally invasive surgical procedures to treat urinary incontinence. The most popular surgical procedures include the single incision sling, transvaginal tape and transobturator tape.