Incontinence is a life-changing condition that affects millions of women who often suffer in silence. While physical pain may not be a common symptom, the emotional pain and embarrassment of urinary leakage can be devastating.
Summit Urology is the leader in diagnosing and treating bladder conditions. We have a comprehensive approach to incontinence, which can have multiple causes and many treatment options for correction.
First, we evaluate you to ensure there are no underlying diseases causing your incontinence. Certain types of bladder cancer can mimic symptoms of incontinence. We run special urine tests and can inspect the inside lining of the bladder if necessary to ensure that no cancer exists before proceeding with definitive treatment of the incontinence.
Types of Incontinence
It is necessary to determine what type of incontinence you have. The treatment for each type varies widely—from simple bladder retraining to medication only, to a surgical procedure. A simplified description of each type follows:
- Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) – Leakage that happens at the moment of physical exertion
- Urge incontinence – You feel a strong urge to void, but you may not make it to the bathroom in time
- Mixed incontinence – Just like it sounds, a little bit of both
- Uncontrollable urination – Voiding with no urge or warning
Is your incontinence serious enough to need treatment?
Are you living with incontinence by living less? For example, do you avoid laughing out loud? Are you afraid to pick up your grandchildren? Do you plan your shopping trips around whether or not public restrooms are nearby? Have you stopped a favorite activity because of “accidents”?
Millions of women give up vital parts of their lives because of the shame, anxiety or embarrassment caused by incontinence. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Incontinence CAN be successfully treated
Summit Urology uses the most advanced diagnostic tools to identify your condition. Urodynamics involves the evaluation of the bladder and sphincter (control valve). We need to measure:
- Bladder volume
- Bladder wall compliance (elasticity)
- How well your sphincter (control valve) is functioning (this is VERY important)
With the results of these tests, we can recommend the best procedure to correct your problem.
- Medications, such as Detrol or Ditropan, can be very useful for some types of incontinence. Estrogen supplements may also be helpful.
- Biofeedback can be used to retrain the bladder. This may decrease the episodes of leakage.
Stress Incontinence—Mild to Moderate
- Gold standard bladder suspension procedures, such as a Burch colposuspension or a Marshal-Marchetti-Krantz (MMK) suspension are very effective. They have very few side effects or complications.
Severe Stress Incontinence or Sphincter Muscle Weakness
- Collagen injections on either side of the urethra help strengthen the muscles to correct leakage.
- Pubovaginal sling procedures place a material under the urethra/bladder to lift the bladder back into its natural position. They are very effective, but have a few more side effects. The best sling is made from your own tissue, but artificial mesh or donor tissue is sometimes necessary.
- TVT (Tension-Free Vaginal Tape) is an option, but it is a very poor option for most. A synthetic material is laid under the urethra and your body scars the area. Initial improvement is good, but long-term results are disappointing and the complication rate is high.