Female Urinary Incontinence
Urinary leakage is a common problem for ladies – as well as being an embarrassing bladder problem it can significantly affect quality of life, confidence and self-esteem. Sadly many women believe that this condition is normal and just put up with the symptoms.
Female urinary incontinence is not normal and we all have a right to have bladder control and to stay dry. Treatments are generally straightforward and highly effective.
Types of Female Urinary Incontinence
Incontinence in women can broadly be divided into two categories – stress urinary incontinence and urge urinary incontinence. When both types of incontinence coexist the term mixed urinary incontinence is used.
Stress Urinary Incontinence
Stress urinary incontinence is the sudden involuntary loss of urine during normal daily activities such as walking, lifting, exercising, laughing, coughing or sneezing. It is a very common condition with about 1 in 3 women affected. Thankfully treatment is usually straightforward and female stress urinary incontinence can nearly always be cured.
Continence in women depends on -
- The bladder and waterpipe (urethra) being properly supported by a strong intact pelvic floor. If this mechanism is deficient then stress incontinence is cause by poor urethral support.
- Circular muscle around the urethra (urethral sphincter) squeezing the urethra to create a leakproof seal. If this mechanism is deficient then stress iincontinence is caused by sphincter weakness
The effectiveness of these continence mechanism can be reduced by many factors including – childbirth (multiple children, particularly prolonged difficult deliveries), post menopausal changes, pelvic organ prolapse, after hysterectomy, chronic coughing and chronic constipation.
Treatment of Stress Urinary Incontinence
Treatments for stress urinary incontinence aim to restore the normal continence mechanisms. Pelvic floor muscle excercises can be helpful and there are a range of effective surgical treatments for stress urinary incontinence which may be suitable for your bladder weakness problem.
Urge Urinary Incontinence
Incontinence associated with a sudden intense desire to urinate is called urge urinary incontinence. This bothersome symptom is caused by an overactive bladder and can be dealt with in most cases. Bladder Botox Injection is a particularly effective treatment where tablets have failed to improve urgency and urge incontinence.