Even with the most advanced medical care and preparation, childbirth is still a relatively traumatic event for a woman’s body. From the nine months leading up to the birthday to the months or even years afterward, a woman can expect to undergo dramatic changes and even injuries as a result of caring a newborn to term. While many women are able to recover fairly well within several weeks after giving birth, many are not so fortunate and struggle with chronic back pain, female incontinence, and pain during sex for a year or even longer before finally receiving the incontinence treatment they need.
As common as female incontinence may be among women with children, the majority of those suffering do not get the treatment they need and deserve. Many women either feel too embarrassed to seek help for issues stemming from childbirth or face misdiagnosis or improper treatment from the health care system. In a 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine, women are often victims of “neglect, dismissal, and discrimination” when it comes to receiving expert medical care, particularly with regard to childbirth injuries and female incontinence.
At the Institute for Incontinence, Vaginal Reconstruction & Women’s Health, our skilled Los Angeles urologists specialize in diagnosing and treating a variety of female urological conditions. We understand the unique anatomy of the female pelvic structures and the impact that pregnancy and childbirth can have on those structures. We take a holistic approach to finding the best treatment method for each patient, incorporating acupuncture, meditation, and massage therapy along with standard medical treatments, such as medication and surgery. To receive the advanced urological care you deserve for female incontinence treatment please do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with our warm and compassionate team of doctors.
What are the Different Types of Female Incontinence?
Different mechanisms and underlying factors can result in unwanted loss or leakage of urine. Some factors include pregnancy and multiple childbirths, aging and menopause, neurological issues of the bladder, diabetes, etc.
Essentially, pregnancy and childbirth cause the muscles and tissue surrounding the uterus and bladder to become stretched and weakened, resulting in occasional leaks or accidents. Menopause and lack of female hormones can also result in reduces tissue support for the urethra.
The most common types of bladder incontinence women experience as a result of pregnancy or giving birth include:
- Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is characterized by the sudden loss of urine as a result of certain activities, such as sneezing, running, coughing, laughing, or lifting something heavy, which puts pressure on the bladder. SUI usually becomes worse with menopause and frequent childbirth.
- Overactive Bladder (OAB) or Urge Urinary Incontinence (UUI) is characterized by the sudden, unexpected urge to urinate frequently throughout the day and even at nighttime, disrupting sleep. Occasional, involuntary loss of urine is not uncommon.
- Mixed Urinary Incontinence: A combination of both SUI and UUI.
Whether dealing with the occasional urine leakage accident or daily female incontinence issues that make life uncomfortable and embarrassing, your urologist can help determine the best solution to get a patient’s life back on track. Read more about urinary incontinence in women at WebMD.com.
Reliable Incontinence Treatment
At the Institute for Incontinence, Vaginal Reconstruction & Women’s Health in Beverly Hills, our board-certified urologists take a whole-body approach to ensuring that each patient achieves the best possible results. Our urologists can provide the following forms of female incontinence treatment:
Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Urinary Incontinence:
- Lifestyle Modifications – Dietary changes, scheduled bathroom use, and physical exercise such as Kegel exercises, to strengthen the core and pelvic muscles.
- Medications – Prescription medications can calm bladder and pelvic muscles to relieve urge incontinence. Also, avoiding certain medications can help with incontinence.
- Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy and Massages – After giving birth, the pelvic muscles can become so tense that the patient loses control of her bladder and experiences pain when standing or having sex. Consistent massage can ease the tension that causes female incontinence and pain.
- Acupuncture – Just as physical massage can release tight pelvic muscles, acupuncture can reduce the symptoms of female incontinence.
Medical Devices and Surgery
If conservative or holistic treatment options have not been successful for female incontinence treatment, our patient may benefit from the following:
- Pessary – A device that can be inserted into the vagina or anus help support the pelvic floor muscles and the uterus, particularly in the event of vaginal prolapse.
- Bulking Agent Injections – Collagen injections or silicone beads can be inserted around the urethra to help support the pelvic muscles that control the flow of urine.
- Urethral Sling – Synthetic material or even grafts of the patient’s body tissue can be surgically placed around the neck of the bladder to help support the urethra and prevent stress incontinence. There are various types of slings that can be used to address each patient’s unique anatomy and needs.
- Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS): By inserting a small needle on the inner aspect of ankle and then using low electrical currents to stimulate the Tibial nerve on a weekly basis for a period of time, PTNS can significantly improve or resolve OAB and urgency issues.
- Sacral Nerve Stimulation – A small device, not unlike a pacemaker, can be used to deliver mild electrical impulses to the nerves that control the need to urinate. Mainly useful for refractory urgency or urge incontinence, sacral nerve stimulation help block these signals and even retrain the nerves to only signal when necessary. The stimulator device may be handheld or implanted under the skin along with the wires for the patient to control.
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse Repairs: Depending on the type of prolapse a number of open and minimally invasive (laparoscopic / robotic) procedures can be performed to place the female pelvic organs back into their anatomic location and provide support as much as possible.
- Intravesical Botox® Injection: For patients with refractory urgency and urge incontinence (OAB) this option can provide significant relief and symptomatic control. Effects usually last for months and procedure can be repeated again as well.
In a Nutshell:
- Definition: Female urinary incontinence involuntary and unwanted loss of urine (from few drops to a full bladder)
- Types: Stress Incontinence (leakage with physical activity, coughs, sneezes, laughing, etc); Urge Incontinence (urgency to make to the bathroom and accidents if not make it in time); and Mixed Incontinence which is combination of both
- Causes: Pregnancy and multiple vaginal deliveries, menopause, overactive bladder, neurological issues, etc
- Treatments: multiple options based on the cause and type of incontinence. Lifestyle modification, medications (to relax the bladder), Pelvic floor physical therapy and exercises, Peripheral Tibial nerve stimulation, Surgical procedures (e.g. slings, pelvic organ prolapse repair, injection of Botox ® into the bladder, sacral nerve stimulator implantation, injection of urethral bulking agents, etc. depending on the condition)
Contact Our Female Urology Specialist Today
If you or someone you care about is struggling with urinary incontinence, whether are a result of recent childbirth or other factors, do not wait to get in touch with the urologists at the Institute of Incontinence and Vaginal Reconstruction in Beverly Hills. There is no need to silently suffer. Female incontinence treatment is available. Please call 310 307 3552 to get the treatment you need today.