How to Get a Handle on Your Stress Incontinence

How to Get a Handle on Your Stress Incontinence

Up to one-third of women struggle with stress incontinence. It happens when extra pressure on the bladder forces you to leak urine unexpectedly. You might suddenly leak a few drops, a trickle, or even a big stream of urine. 

One of the most frustrating things about stress incontinence is that it doesn’t take much stress to cause an accident. Usually, ordinary things lead to leaks; laughing, sneezing, coughing, lifting something heavy, or jumping can cause inconvenient and embarrassing accidents. 

Fortunately, stress incontinence is treatable. With more than two decades of experience, our caring, board-certified OB/GYN, Daniel Esteves, MD, provides the best stress incontinence solutions at our office in Lawrenceville, Georgia. 

In this blog, we’re reviewing some of the causes of stress incontinence and a few of the different ways that Dr. Esteves helps his patients get a handle on it. 

Finding the cause of your stress incontinence 

The best path to relief from stress incontinence comes through knowing its cause. Before planning your treatment, Dr. Esteves takes the time to review your medical history, incontinence symptoms, and co-occurring health conditions. 

Along with a pelvic exam, you may need a urinalysis, bladder scan, or a cystoscopy to examine the inside of the bladder. You might need tests to check the function of your bladder, urethra (the tube that carries urine), and sphincter (the muscle that opens and closes the bladder).

Stress incontinence is usually tied to weak pelvic floor muscles. Many things can cause this weakening, including pregnancy, vaginal delivery, extra weight, and chronic constipation. 

The natural aging process may contribute. During perimenopause (the premenopause period), estrogen levels wane and pelvic relaxation may start. This helps explain why stress incontinence prevalence rises during perimenopause and menopause. 

Getting a handle on your stress incontinence

Based on your situation, Dr. Esteves creates a custom plan to help manage your incontinence and improve your quality of life. Some of the initial treatment options are typically:

In some cases, women need additional medical treatments to better manage stress incontinence. 

Although there are currently no FDA-approved medications for stress incontinence, the American Urological Association (AUA) explains that other medications may help. For example, if you have stress incontinence alongside urge incontinence, known as mixed incontinence, a medication for urge incontinence may help reduce your leaks. 

Should conservative treatments for stress incontinence not be enough to improve your quality of life, Dr. Esteves may suggest a minimally invasive procedure. One example is bulking agents, in which he injects a material into the urethra area to help it close (and stay closed under stress) better. 

Another option, considered the gold standard for surgical management of stress incontinence, is mid-urethral sling surgery. In this procedure, Dr. Esteves uses a highly advanced, minimally invasive technique to position a piece of mesh beneath your urethra. 

The mesh encourages your urethra to close when under stress and helps prevent accidental urine loss. The outpatient urethral sling procedure takes less than a half-hour and requires local anesthesia. 

You can typically get back to your regular routine within about two weeks, but the amount of time you need could vary. In the long term, 9 in 10 women experience successful resolution of their stress incontinence with this surgery. 

Stress incontinence is no longer stressful when you have help from a premier expert like Dr. Esteves. To schedule your visit with Dr. Esteves, call our office or connect with us online today.

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