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Health Connections March/April 2013 "Urinary Incontinence" by Knaub, Mara 


Millions of women suffer from pelvic conditions like bladder leakage and prolapse. Bladder leakage often occurs during physical activity or when coughing, laughing, or sneezing. Pelvic organ displacement, or prolapse, occurs when pelvic floor muscles are weakened, causing a feeling of bulging or pressure in the pelvic area.

Urinary incontinence is the medical term used to describe the condition of not being able to control the flow of urine from your body. Incontinence usually occurs because the urethra cannot close tightly enough to hold urine in the bladder.


  • You suffer from urine leakage during coughing, sneezing, or during physical activities.
  • You have urgency and frequency and leak urine before you reach the bathroom.
  • You feel a bulging or pressure in your pelvic area known as a prolapse.
  • You have a slow urine stream and feel that you don't empty your bladder after urinating.


You are not alone. Many ladies don't seek help because they feel embarrassed and don't know that help is available.

Women's Health Specialists has doctors that have experience and understanding to provide evaluation and treatment.

The successful treatment of these bladder problems begins with an accurate diagnosis that will identify the cause of your problem and begin to restore your comfort, control and confidence.

There are three types of urinary incontinence: urge (often referred to as overactive bladder), stress and mixed. You may experience urge incontinence if you feel the overwhelming need to urinate even when you just went and/or being unable to hold it long enough to reach the bathroom. Stress incontinence is classified as urine loss during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing or any body movement which puts pressure on the bladder. Mixed incontinence is a combination of both urge and stress.

  • Urge incontinence occurs when nerve passages from the bladder to the brain are damaged, causing a sudden bladder contraction and loss of urine. Treatments have a goal to improve bladder instability. This may be accomplished through lifestyle changes, behavior modifications, dietary changes, weight loss, medications and neural stimulation.
  • Stress incontinence occurs when pelvic muscles have been damaged. This damage can be caused by pregnancy and childbirth, radiation, trauma, prior surgery and/or hormonal changes. Treatments are directed to strengthen or aid the pelvic muscles that have been damaged. This can be accomplished through pelvic floor exercises, support devices, bulking agents or surgery. Currently, there are no medications that treat stress incontinence.
  • Mixed incontinence is a combination of both urge and stress incontinence. This is often treated with a combination of both surgery and drug therapy.
  • Overflow incontinence- A women has steady leaks of small amounts of urine. This type occurs when the bladder does not empty all the way during voiding. The bladder muscle may not be active enough, or the urethra may be blocked.

Treatment for urinary incontinence depends on the type of incontinence, the severity of your problem and the underlying cause. Treatment options range from more conservative approaches, including behavioral techniques to more aggressive options, such as surgery. There are different types of minimally invasive, outpatient surgical procedures available. These minimally invasive procedures are designed to reduce recovery time for women - getting them back to doing the things they love. Your doctor will recommend the approaches best suited to your condition. Often a combination of treatments is used.

It is possible that urinary incontinence may take a toll on emotional well-being. Research suggests women with incontinence have lower self-esteem, reduced sexuality, and higher levels of depression compared to those with healthy bladders. Incontinence can be effectively managed or even reversed

We offer onsite testing and evaluation. Call (928) 783-3050 to schedule an appointment with one of our uro-gynecologists.