If you constantly feel the urge to go to the bathroom, or if you can’t always hold it in before you get there, you’re not alone: Urinary incontinence (UI) is a common medical problem that affects millions of people. UI may be stressful or embarrassing, but it isn’t a problem that you have to live with. Board-certified urologist Dr. Alan Yamada in Arcadia, California, provides complete UI care to men and women in the San Gabriel Valley and surrounding areas. Call Foothill Urogenital Health to schedule your appointment today.
Urinary incontinence (UI), also known as urinary leakage or loss of bladder control, is the involuntary leaking of urine, either in the form of a few drops or something more severe. UI may include:
Although there are several forms of UI, the most common types are:
The most prevalent type of UI involves leakage that occurs when physical movement puts pressure on the bladder. People with stress incontinence may leak urine when they cough, sneeze, laugh, exercise, or lift something heavy.
Often referred to as having an overactive bladder, urge incontinence involves the strong, sudden urge to urinate, followed by leakage. It sometimes occurs when it’s least expected, like during sleep or when you hear running water.
Many people have mixed incontinence, meaning they experience symptoms related to stress incontinence as well as urge incontinence.
UI affects men and women alike, but usually for different reasons.
Men generally develop UI either because of a problem with the nerve signal from the brain that controls bladder function, or because of a problem with sphincter function. Male incontinence may be a side effect of prostate cancer treatment, or it may be a sign of undiagnosed prostate cancer. UI is also a common problem for older men with enlarged prostates.
Women are twice as likely to have UI due to the stresses and changes brought on by pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause. Pregnancy puts increased pressure on pelvic floor muscles that can weaken them, while vaginal childbirth can exacerbate pelvic floor weakness and damage the nerves that control bladder function. Lower estrogen levels brought on by menopause can also contribute to UI by weakening urethral tissues.
Because UI can often be successfully treated without having to resort to surgery, Dr. Yamada may start by recommending specific lifestyle changes, urgency suppression training, physical therapy, or bladder support devices.
Losing weight can help take pressure off your bladder, and performing Kegel exercises can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles for better bladder control. Reducing the amount of sodium in your diet can help lower the need to urinate frequently.
You may also regain control by retraining your bladder, a process that involves going to the bathroom at set times, even when you don’t feel the urge.
A relatively new option is Botox injections. Yes, the same substance used to freeze facial muscles that make crow’s feet and frown lines is also effective in controlling bladder muscles. Injecting Botox directly into the bladder muscle calms the overactive bladders of women with urinary incontinence that had not responded to standard treatments. The benefit of a single Botox treatment can last six months.
For many menopausal women, stress incontinence is directly linked to lower estrogen levels. In such cases, MonaLisa Touch laser therapy provides a safe and effective way to treat UI and address its underlying cause.
MonaLisa Touch delivers controlled laser energy to the tissues that line the vaginal wall to generate new collagen, elastin, and vascularization. In addition to restoring vaginal health and treating stress incontinence, MonaLisa Touch also helps address:
*Individual Results May Vary