Advice on Incontinence from Dr. Mathiesen

Do you leak urine? What an embarrassing question! Unfortunately, a lot of us have an even more embarrassing answer.

At Women’s Clinic of Johnson County, we’re dedicated to educating women on what affects their bodies. That includes embarrassing incidents like urinary incontinence, which is more common than you think.

What is incontinence?

Although a lot of women leak urine at some point during their lives, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s normal. In medical jargon, leaking urine is called incontinence. Sudden onset leaking associated with discomfort or bloody urine could be a sign of an infection that should be evaluated and treated.

The other most common types of leaking are stress, urge, and mixed incontinence. 

Stress incontinence

Stress incontinence typically presents as leaking when you cough, sneeze, or with exercise. This kind of leaking is usually due to a hypermobile urethra. This can be improved with pelvic floor physical therapy, vaginal laser therapy, and by wearing vaginal devices (like the Poise Impressa, a pessary, or Urestra).

There is even underwear now that can help with minor leaks! There are also procedures to improve stress incontinence—like urethral bulking agents or sling procedures. Sometimes these procedures are performed by Gynecologists—or sometimes we will ask you to see a UroGynecologist or a Urologist.

Urge incontinence

If you have a sudden urge to urinate and then leak urine, or have an urge and then don’t make it to the bathroom in time, that is more consistent with urge incontinence. This is due to spasms of the bladder muscle. Typically, this is treated with a medication such as Detrol, Vesicare or Myrbetriq. 

Sometimes it is hard to tell what type or types of incontinence you have—in this scenario urodynamic testing can be helpful.

Talk to your ObGyn at WCJC about your leaking! We will start with some questions and a physical exam and decide what should happen next. Not only can many of us sympathize, but we can talk about all of the ways we can help improve it!