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What’s the Difference Between Stress and Urge Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence means that your bladder isn’t strong enough to prevent urine from leaking sometimes. If this happens to you, it can be highly embarrassing. You may have to check for the nearest bathroom when you arrive at a new location or carry spare underwear and pants in case you need to change.

This is an awkward problem, but you’re far from alone. Many women suffer from incontinence, especially those who’ve had multiple children. Stress and urge incontinence are two of the most common types, and Dr. Darin L. Weyrhich explains more about them and what you can do to prevent and treat the problem.

The causes of incontinence

If you can’t hold your urine, you have incontinence. Many women have this problem, especially as they get older. However, it’s not an inevitable result of aging.

Some of the causes of a more temporary (and easily fixable) type of incontinence include the following:

Other causes of ongoing or chronic types of incontinence include some of the following:

You should make an appointment with an OBGYN like Dr. Weyhrich if you’re having regular problems with urinating. 

The two main types of urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence comes in two main forms: stress and urge incontinence. 

Stress incontinence

This refers to physical stress, not mental or emotional stress. Any activity that puts pressure on your bladder, such as laughing, coughing, or lifting something a bit too heavy, may cause you to leak urine.

The best way to treat stress incontinence is with physical therapy. Strengthening the muscles of your pelvic floor can eliminate these problems. In some cases, we may recommend surgery to place a pelvic sling that supports a weak bladder.

Urge Incontinence

This refers to the inability to hold your bladder for very long. You may be known among your friends or family for how often you have to go, but you honestly can’t help it. This is urge incontinence, where you suddenly feel a need to get to a bathroom. Many women involuntarily leak urine in these situations.

Medications, such as Detrol® and Ditropan®, and physical therapy can treat urge incontinence. You should also avoid things that make your urine more acidic, like caffeine and soda, spicy foods, or citrus.

You’ll also want to make sure to go to the bathroom frequently; many women who have either stress or urge incontinence make a habit of not going to the bathroom often enough.

Dr. Darin L. Weyhrich can help with this common problem. Contact his office if you want to schedule an appointment or request an online appointment.

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