Urinary Incontinence: Learn Your Treatment Options

Urinary incontinence can disrupt your life, even beyond the potential for embarrassment it creates. However, it is a fairly common occurrence in women, with 3%-17% of women experiencing urinary incontinence at some point in their life, most often around menopause.

If you’re in that statistical category but you want out, visit Dr. Schumacher. The OB/GYN and medical aesthetics specialist has several treatment options to put you back in control, so make an appointment and see which treatment is best for you.

Determining the cause of your incontinence

The first step in treatment, of course, is determining the type and cause of urinary incontinence that’s hindering you. The two main types of urinary incontinence are stress incontinence and urge incontinence.

Stress incontinence happens when you leak urine due to coughing, laughing, exercise, or other forms of physical strain. Urge incontinence, also known as overactive bladder, happens when you get a sudden and immediate urge to urinate, making it a challenge to get to a restroom in time.

Stress incontinence often comes from a weakening in the pelvic muscles due to pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, or low estrogen levels. Urge incontinence is often caused by a weak bladder, hormone imbalances, and urinary tract infections. Often, stress and urge incontinence occur together.

To determine the cause of your incontinence, Dr. Schumacher will review your medical history and examine you. He will likely request a urine sample or blood test and may complete a vaginal sonogram to view your bladder.

Once he has determined the cause of your incontinence, you can decide on a course of treatment together.

MonaLisa Touch and incontinence

The MonaLisa Touch® system is a vaginal laser therapy. Short laser pulses are applied to specific areas of your vagina. These pulses slightly damage a layer of cells, spurring your body to begin its healing processes. The increased blood flow and nutrients can help strengthen your pelvic floor and urethra, which can reduce incontinence.

This treatment has a track record of effectiveness in reducing both urge and stress incontinence in as few as three sessions.

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy

If low levels of estrogen are causing weak pelvic floor muscles and incontinence, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) may help resolve your symptoms. However, it’s important to note that BHRT has been associated with some negative side effects, including a greater risk of heart disease and cancer.

Because of these risks, it’s important that you work with a skilled physician such as Dr. Schumacher to get the correct minimum dosage and duration of treatment that will help with your incontinence without putting you at unnecessary risk for further complications.

BHRT can be taken orally or applied locally to the vagina. Local application allows greater absorption within the vagina with lower overall levels of the hormones.

Bladder training exercises

Bladder training exercises are simple exercises that can be done both in our office and at home to help strengthen your bladder and pelvic floor, which decreases your incontinence.

These exercises, often known as Kegels, involve tightening your muscles for a set duration, occasionally around an object. Dr. Schumacher can help you learn how to effectively complete these exercises so you can practice them on your own.

Additionally, bladder training may consist of keeping a diary of when you go to the bathroom and creating a schedule of bathroom visits throughout the day to make your urination more predictable and give you greater control.

Medication

If your incontinence is caused by a urinary tract infection, Dr. Schumacher will likely prescribe antibiotics to clear the infection. Other medications he may prescribe include medications intended to relax the bladder and prevent it from contracting involuntarily.

 

Because urinary incontinence can have multiple causes, Dr. Schumacher may suggest multiple treatments to help control your urination. To discuss your specific issues with him, schedule an appointment by phone or book your visit online.

 

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