If you leak urine from time to time or feel sudden urges to go to the bathroom, you’re not alone. Urinary incontinence, or UI, is the involuntary loss of bladder control. Millions of Americans suffer from UI. Both men and women, young and old, can experience some form of UI, but it’s most common in women over age 50.
UI can cause embarrassment, shame and isolation. It’s important to remember, however, that UI is a medical problem and not a normal part of aging. Help is available. The specialists at the Mercy Center for Urinary Health take a comprehensive, sensitive approach to the treatment of UI. We utilize the latest, non-invasive tools and techniques in a patient friendly environment to accurately diagnose and treat the causes of UI, as well as many other urinary conditions.
Our goal is to improve patients’ urinary health so that they can get back to enjoying their lives. Thanks to the caring and sophisticated team of experts at the Center for Urinary Health, UI doesn’t have to control your life any more.
About Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is a symptom of an underlying condition or dysfunction. Many conditions can contribute to UI, including:
• bladder infections
• pregnancy and childbirth
• weak pelvic floor muscles
• chronic illness
• neuromuscular disorders
• hormonal changes
• urinary tract abnormalities
There are four types of UI.
Stress incontinence occurs when physical activities like coughing, laughing, sneezing, lifting, straining, getting out of a chair or bending over put pressure on the abdomen.
Urge urinary incontinence, which is also referred to as overactive bladder, is a sudden, strong urge to urinate and an inability to get to the toilet fast enough. Many people with urge incontinence leak urine with no warning.
Mixed urinary incontinence is a combination of urge and stress incontinence.
Overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder does not empty properly and the amount of urine produced exceeds the capacity of the bladder. It is characterized by frequent urination and dribbling.
Mercy’s Team of Experts
The Mercy Center for Urinary Health offers a comprehensive approach to the treatment of UI and other urinary health problems. Our highly skilled team of experts includes board certified obstetricians/gynecologists, physical therapists, and nurses specially trained in the field of UI.
The center’s team specializes in the treatment of women with pelvic floor dysfunction. The pelvic floor is the muscles, ligaments and nerves that help support and control the rectum, uterus, vagina and bladder. Many women experience pelvic floor problems as a result of pregnancy and childbirth, and pelvic floor dysfunction is a common cause of UI.
Diagnosis and Treatment
To pinpoint cause of a patient’s incontinence, the specialists at the Center for Urinary Health will first perform a thorough physical examination. Our providers then utilize state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and tests, including:
• Pelvic Ultrasound
• Urodynamics, or tests that examine the muscles and organs that control urine flow function. Studying how the bladder fills and empties can help doctors pinpoint the cause of symptoms, such as incontinence.
• Video Urodynamics, which uses X-ray equipment to study the bladder’s ability to empty urine. In this test, doctors first use a contract dye to fill the bladder, then observe on a video screen how the bladder fills and empties.
• Cystoscopy, in which a thin tube with a tiny lens is inserted into the urethra. If the doctors spot any abnormalities or blockages through the lens, they can be removed during the same procedure.
Once the source of UI is confirmed, our specialists may use physical therapy, biofeedback, medication or dietary and behavior modification to help patients control the condition.
If additional intervention is required, the Center for Urinary Health offers several leading-edge, non-invasive treatments, including:
InterStim® Therapy A small, pacemaker-like device is implanted under the skin and sends mild electrical impulses a nerve in the lower back. Because the nerve influences the bladder muscle, the electrical impulses can help control bladder function.
Intravesical Botox Doctors sometimes use Botox injections to control and reduce muscle contractions that can lead to urge incontinence.
Pessary This small, silicone device, which is inserted through the vagina, helps to support the pelvic muscles.
Should surgery be required, our specialists are specially trained in minimally invasive techniques that minimize a patient’s pain and recovery time.