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Female Incontinence / Urinary Leakage – Doctor and Condition

Female incontinence is the loss of bladder control by a woman. Stress incontinence may occur when you cough, sneeze, laugh, or bend. Urge incontinence is when you experience the sudden, very strong urge to urinate, making it difficult to get to the restroom in time.

Common Symptoms and Related Terminology:

Description of the Problem:

There are several types of female incontinence, including stress incontinence (cough, sneeze or laugh leakage), urge incontinence (leaking on the way to the bathroom), overflow incontinence, mixed incontinence (a mix of several types of incontinence), functional incontinence (a physical or mental impairment, making it difficult to make it to the restroom in time), total incontinence (total lack of urinary control) and neurogenic incontinence (due to nervous system disease or spinal cord injury.

Female Incontinence Causes:

Female incontinence or leakage of urine can be caused by a wide range of problems. Childbirth, pelvic surgery, and prior radiation can all contribute to leakage. Medications can lead to female incontinence as well. Anatomic problems usually lead to stress incontinence, while urge incontinence can be a bit more complex to find the cause.

Female Incontinence Differential Diagnosis (What else could it be?):

Female Incontinence Evaluation:

Female incontinence evaluation will start with a thorough history and physical. Urinalysis and blood tests may be ordered. You may be asked to keep a voiding diary. Special tests such as a urodynamic testing (pressure testing of the bladder), cystogram (bladder xray), cystoscopy (look into bladder with a tiny scope) may be ordered by your physician as well.

Female Incontinence Treatment:

Female incontinence treatment will depend on the cause and type of incontinence. The first step may be bladder training, diet modification and Kegel exercises. Medications such as Ditropan, Detrol, Sanctura, Vesicare, Enablex, Toviaz, or Myrbetriq may also be helpful with urge incontinence. A pessary is a custom-fitted device that can be inserted into the vagina to prevent leakage. Surgery such as a sling procedure is another option for female urinary incontinence.

Female Incontinence Summary:

Urinary incontinence or urinary leakage is a common problem in both men and women, especially as one gets older. The evaluation of incontinence depends on many factors that are found during the initial interview and physical exam. Through testing the main cause of the incontinence can almost always be found. Sometimes the treatment is as simple as a daily pill or a simple outpatient surgery. The great news is that your driest days may still be in front of you rather than in your past!

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