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Urinary Incontinence

What Causes Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is sometimes just a temporary problem caused by a urinary tract infection, medications, or even triggered by something you ate or drank that irritated your bladder.

When you have ongoing urine leakage, it’s usually caused by an underlying health condition. A few of the most common causes include:

  • Hormone changes: loss of estrogen at menopause leads to weak muscles in the urinary tract
  • Pregnancy and childbirth: pelvic floor muscles that control urine flow can be stretched and weakened during vaginal delivery or from the baby’s weight
  • Age-related changes: bladder and pelvic floor muscles lose strength over time

Your pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that hold your bladder and uterus in place and control the flow of urine.

When these muscles weaken, your risk of developing urinary incontinence is higher. In severe cases, your bladder can prolapse, or drop out of its normal position.

What are the Different Types of Incontinence?

The most common types of incontinence are:

  • Stress Incontinence: The most common type of incontinence in women younger than 65, stress incontinence causes urine leakage when pressure is placed on your bladder. As a result, you leak when you laugh, cough, sneeze, or exercise.
  • Urge Incontinence: This type causes a sudden, strong urge to urinate, followed by involuntary urine loss.
  • Mixed Incontinence: More common in women over the age of 65 years, mixed incontinence means you have stress and urge incontinence.

How is Urinary Incontinence Treated?

Your doctor at Women’s Health Specialist of Frederick may take a urine sample to test for an infection and conduct urodynamic studies to determine the underlying cause of your incontinence.

Urodynamic studies consist of several different tests that provide information about urine flow, the amount of pressure in your bladder, and how much urine is retained in your bladder.

Your treatment is customized and may include any of the following options:

  • Bladder training to delay urination
  • Pelvic floor therapy to improve muscle control
  • Medications to relax bladder muscles
  • Urethral insert or pessary to block urine leakage
  • Minimally invasive surgery to repair muscles and tissues