Did you know that half of adult women experience some form of bothersome urinary symptoms?

Myth:  Frequent, urgent urination or leakage of urine are normal side effects of aging or childbearing.

While common, these are not inevitable conditions and can be effectively treated, in many cases without surgical intervention. Overactive Bladder (OAB) characterizes patients who experience frequent urination and strong urges to urinate with short warning times. These patients may or may not have associated leakage or urinary incontinence (UI).

When leakage of urine does occur, it is important to distinguish whether this is a result of urge (UUI) or stress urinary incontinence (SUI). While both can result in leakage of urine, the causes and treatment recommendations are different. Some patients have a combination of urge and stress incontinence, referred to as mixed incontinence (MUI).

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Overactive Bladder (OAB)

Overactive bladder (also called OAB) is associated with frequent and sudden urges to urinate that may be difficult to control. Patients can experience OAB symptoms during the daytime, nighttime or both. After an evaluation, you may be able to manage your symptoms of OAB with simple behavioral strategies such as managing fluid intake and dietary changes or by utilizing a combination of pelvic floor exercises, medications, and supplements.

Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)

Stress incontinence (SUI) is associated with the unintentional loss of urine with the increase in abdominal pressure that is associated with physical activity such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising. SUI is more likely to occur in women, and is often related to weakened pelvic floor muscles as a result of childbearing, childbirth, aging, weight gain, and menopausal changes. Treatments for stress incontinence are aimed at strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and restoring normal pelvic anatomic structure.

What treatments are available for SUI?

There are several options to address SUI that are non-invasive and do not require surgery. Pelvic floor physical therapy (PFPT) focuses on managing pelvic floor muscle contraction and relaxation with exercises and techniques taught by a specially trained physical therapist. In post menopausal women, topical vaginal hormones can sometimes be added to increase vascularity and the coaptive ability of the urethral tissues. In addition – there are several devices available, including digital therapeutic PT systems and bladder support devices

Urge Urinary Incontinence (UUI)

Urge Urinary Incontinence (UUI) is the sudden, intense urge to urinate followed by the involuntary loss of urine. This leakage is caused by a spasm of the bladder wall muscle (detrusor). Many women will experience UUI immediately after rising from prolonged sitting or laying down or while on their way to the bathroom. Treatments for include UUI include:

  • behavioral strategies
  • fluid intake changes
  • dietary modifications (elimination of certain irritants)
  • pelvic floor exercises
  • medications
  • supplements

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