Do you cross your legs when you cough? Say a prayer before you sneeze? Avoid running or exercising because you're afraid your bladder may leak? If you're struggling with urinary incontinence, you're not alone. Dr. Alqulali treats many women who are living with urinary incontinence.
Urinary Incontinence Is Common
Researchers estimate that 30 to 50 percent of women who have given birth experience stress urinary incontinence. Stress urinary incontinence develops because the weight of pregnancy on the bladder can cause it to weaken, and the stress of giving birth can stretch and damage the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles act like a hammock to hold up the bladder, uterus and rectum and help prevent urine from leaking.
What Are the Types of Urinary Incontinence?
The two types of urinary incontinence are stress urinary incontinence and urge urinary incontinence.
Stress urinary incontinence happens when you put stress on the bladder through actions and activities like running, coughing, sneezing, lifting or even standing up.
Urge urinary incontinence is also known as overactive bladder. Signs of urge urinary incontinence include frequently feeling like you must "go," even though you have already emptied your bladder.
What Are the Treatments for Urinary Incontinence?
There are several treatments for urinary incontinence, including:
Kegel Exercises. Kegel exercises tighten the pelvic floor muscles that hold urine in the bladder. To do Kegel exercises, just stretch and flex your pelvic floor muscles. One of the best ways to figure out how to do this is to try and stop your urine mid-stream. (Caution: Just do this once to see which muscles you need to work on, as practicing Kegels during urination can put you at risk of developing urinary tract infections.) Work up to holding your pelvic floor muscles tight for 10 seconds at a time. Do 10 reps, three times a day.
Pessary Devices. Moderate urine leakage may mean you need more than Kegel exercises. One option is a small silicone ring known as a pessary. The pessary is worn inside the vagina to help slow down urine leakage. Some women choose to wear their pessary throughout the day, while others only wear theirs during exercise or other activities.
Bladder Sling. A more invasive, but still minimally invasive, approach to treating urinary incontinence is the bladder sling. This procedure is for women with severe cases of incontinence. During the surgery, a U-shaped mesh sling is inserted into the urethra to provide support and reduce urine leakage. The operation has a 90 percent or higher success rate, but like other surgical procedures, has a recovery period, requires general anesthesia and comes with the risk of complications.
Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation. A non-surgical, minimally invasive option to treat urinary incontinence is laser vaginal rejuvenation. Unlike bladder mesh surgery, there is no downtime. General anesthesia is not required, and there is no risk of complications. The procedure is quick and has no complications. The laser vaginal rejuvenation procedure works to tighten the muscles of the vagina by using a laser to induce collagen production.
Do you want to learn more about treatments for urinary incontinence? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Alqulali today by calling 888-716-0559.