If you worry about a urine leak every time you sneeze or check out where the bathroom is at each new location, you may be suffering from urinary incontinence. Fortunately, help is available and you don't have to continue to suffer in silence.
At Habersham OBGYN in Demorest, Georgia, Dr. Thomas Hatchett and our midwife nurse practitioner Britteny Barron provide personalized services for women, no matter their stage of life. Whether you're experiencing urinary incontinence, are expecting a baby, or having another issue, we can help using our innovative diagnostic and treatment technology and equipment as well as our high-quality, attentive care.
Urinary incontinence may be embarrassing to talk about but sufferers are far from alone. Anywhere from a quarter to a third of Americans live with the fear of an "accident" — and this number may be an undercount given people's hesitation to bring the condition up with their doctors. Most feel uncomfortable or believe there is no treatment.
There are four types of urinary incontinence. Stress urinary incontinence occurs when the pelvic muscles are not strong enough and they allow urine to escape. Overactive bladder or urgency incontinence involves having the sudden urge to go even when the bladder isn't full. Mixed incontinence is when an individual has both stress urinary incontinence and overactive bladder. Finally, overflow incontinence involves urinating often in small amounts because more urine is created than the bladder can hold or the bladder is full but can't empty properly.
Treatments for urinary incontinence depend on the type as well as a person's age and general health. They can include everything from pelvic floor muscle exercises, bladder training, and electrical stimulation to medications, medical devices, and injections. Some people may also be good candidates for surgery.
There are several types of surgery available, including slings to support the urethra and neck of the bladder (with the midurethral version using a synthetic mesh strap, and the traditional type employing a person's own tissue). Suspension procedures limit sagging and pressure by reinforcing the urethra and bladder neck into place with special stitches.
Most surgeries for urinary incontinence are minimally invasive, with the amount of time needed for recovery depending on the kind of surgery as well as the individual's health and how quickly they heal.
There may be discomfort for several days and normal activities should be resumed gradually over a period of days to weeks. Walking soon after surgery is usually recommended to prevent blood clots. Avoiding constipation and straining will be important for wound healing. Showering is preferable to baths to help keep the area free of infection. Using tampons and having sexual intercourse should be avoided until the doctor says it's okay.
Over a period of days to weeks, more intense and strenuous activities can be undertaken as healing progresses, though it will be important not to lift anything too heavy until given medical permission. Pelvic floor exercises may be recommended, too.
While urinary incontinence may be hard to talk about, it's important to do so as treatment can greatly improve your quality of life. If you're tired of suffering in silence or avoiding social occasions due to the fear of leaking, call our office for an appointment today or book one online.