NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Urinary incontinence is loss of urine sufficient to be a problem. Although it is more common in women over 50, it may also affect the young and childless. Incontinent women may exercise less and may be afraid to leave the house, resulting in social isolation and depression. Urinary leakage during sexual activity can affect intimate relationships.
Urge incontinence is the loss of urine associated with an intense urge to urinate. Although it may occur spontaneously, it may be provoked by the sound of running water, washing the dishes, the act of putting the key into the lock of the front door, cold weather or changing positions. Urge incontinence is often associated with urinary urgency, frequency and nocturia, urination at night.
Stress incontinence is loss of urine without an urge to void that is usually triggered by an activity causing an increase in intra-abdominal pressure. This is the type of urinary loss caused by coughing, sneezing, jumping, lifting or pushing a swing. It is often associated with exercise, hitting a golf ball or a tennis ball, gymnastics, or high-impact aerobics. It is more common in younger and obese women.
About a third of women experiencing urinary incontinence also experience bowel problems including accidental bowel leakage. Many also have pelvic organ prolapse, vaginal hernias. All of these conditions fall under the umbrella of pelvic floor disorders.
Urinary incontinence is not a normal part of aging. Many conservative medical and minimally invasive surgical treatments are available for all pelvic floor disorders.
Dr. Margie Kahn is the Director of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery and Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Urology at Tulane University. She treats women suffering from urinary incontinence, as well as those dealing with fecal incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and other pelvic floor disorders.
Visit your doctor to find out more about your health. For more information or to schedule an appointment please visit, www.tulaneobgyn.com.
Article written by Margie Kahn, MD: Clinical Associate Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Urology Section Head, Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery