If you spend your life looking for the nearest bathroom as soon as you arrive at a new place, you may be dealing with incontinence. Many women are surprised to discover that this problem is extremely common, especially as they age.
Incontinence comes in a variety of different forms. Some simple lifestyle changes can help you control your bladder, but you may need further assistance. Dr. Darin L. Weyhrich of Weyhrich OBGYN in Boise, Idaho, explains what you need to know about incontinence and how he can treat the underlying cause so you can live without the embarrassing side effects.
The causes of incontinence
Stress on your bladder, which often occurs with pregnancy or obesity, can cause incontinence. Age is also a factor, as your organs and muscles weaken and declining estrogen levels no longer support your bladder health.
Some incontinence culprits are temporary and involve something you eat or drink. For example, the following foods or drinks may trigger incontinence:
- Sparkling or carbonated water
- Chili peppers
- Artificial sweeteners
- High doses of vitamin C
If you frequently consume these foods or beverages, try cutting back on them to see if it eases your symptoms.
Types of incontinence
There are several types of incontinence:
This causes urine to leak when you do anything that puts more stress on the bladder, such as laughing, coughing, or sneezing. Exercise and lifting heavy objects can also apply pressure to your bladder.
If you suddenly have to go, you may have urge incontinence, the urgent need to urinate that feels so strong that you fear you’ll wet your pants if you can’t get to a bathroom quickly enough. You may experience this throughout the day and night.
You may not feel like you can completely empty your bladder, which can sometimes lead to dribbling a bit of urine. Technically speaking, this means that your bladder fills up faster than you can empty it.
This type of incontinence often involves another underlying issue. Mobility problems like arthritis or injuries can lead to functional incontinence.
You can also have more than one type of incontinence, which is called mixed incontinence.
How to treat incontinence
The good news is that incontinence isn’t something you have to accept. We have treatments that can very likely help you.
Dr. Weyhrich may prescribe bladder control medication, such as Ditropan® or Detrol®.
He may also have you work on strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, which often become weak after pregnancy or with age. A program of physical therapy is sometimes enough to manage your incontinence. But if it’s not, he can also recommend surgery for you, in which a mesh sling is inserted to hold your bladder in place.
If you’re tired of living with the hassle of incontinence, you’re not alone. You don’t have to live with the embarrassment anymore. Contact Darin L. Weyhrich, MD, or request an appointment online.