Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine. About one woman in three may report urinary incontinence at some time in her life, especially as she becomes older. Fortunately, treatment can often be highly effective.
Stress incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine that occurs during increased abdominal pressure. This is most likely to happen during actions such as sneezing, coughing, laughing, jogging, rapid walking, jumping or lifting heavy items.
Stress incontinence is usually a result of the urethra being too mobile and not being compressed against the vaginal wall during increased abdominal pressure.
Urge incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine associated with a strong sensation to pass urine. It is sometimes called an “overactive bladder” and may be due to the detrusor muscle contracting when it should be relaxed. It may also be caused by irritation of the bladder from a number of cases, no cause for this condition can be found. Other medical problems may provoke the condition. Some women may be born with a tendency for this condition.
Mixed incontinence is a combination of both urge incontinence and stress incontinence.
Pelvic floor muscle exercises involve learning to contract the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles are the ones that you normally squeeze when you try to stop wind from escaping.
Bladder training is used to improve urge incontinence. It involves learning to increase the time interval between passing urine so that the bladder does what you want it to.
Urge incontinence can improve with the use of medications called anticholinergic or antispasmodic drugs.
Some of these are pessaries that support the urethra.
Surgery may cure stress incontinence but is usually not effective for urge incontinence. The particular operation best suited to your case depends on:
Mid-urethral tape procedures have become increasingly popular. These operations are generally performed through the vagina via a small cut made in the vaginal wall.
This operation may be performed by two gynaecologists working together, using both a vaginal approach and an abdominal approach.
A bulking agent is injected into the tissues of the urethra to create a cushioning effect. This bulking agent may be collagen or silicon.