Have you noticed that it’s getting a little harder to “hold it” when the urge hits to head to the restroom? Have you had a couple of “oops” moments after laughing at a joke or jogging down the street? These are the beginning stages of urinary incontinence, and it happens to more women than you might imagine.
About 37% of all women start leaking a little between the ages of 20 and 39, and the rate just keeps climbing after that. But why does this happen, and what can be done?
Dr. Khashayar Shakiba at Women’s Pelvic Surgery of North Jersey fields these questions often from his patients in Hackensack, New Jersey. Women in any stage of life can suffer from mild-to-severe incontinence, and many don’t realize there are simple and effective treatments that can free them from the embarrassment and inconvenience. Here’s what you need to know about this common condition, and a list of the main causes of women’s urinary incontinence.
Why do women suffer from incontinence more than men?
The very nature of a woman’s anatomy — or more specifically, the structure of her urinary tract — puts her at higher risk for urinary incontinence.
But that’s not the only thing unique to women that makes them more susceptible to a little dribbling: pregnancy, childbearing, and menopause all contribute to the problem and make the condition more common.
Which type of incontinence do you have?
There are five different types of urinary incontinence, and they have slightly different symptoms:
- Stress incontinence: Urine leaks under sudden stress like a cough or a sneeze
- Urge incontinence: Intense urgency to urinate and inability to hold it
- Overflow incontinence: Inability to fully empty the bladder leads to spillage and frequent trips to the bathroom
- Functional incontinence: When your age or health prevent you from realizing you need to use the restroom or getting there in time
- Mixed incontinence: A combination of the above symptoms
Once we know what type of incontinence symptoms you’re experiencing, Dr. Shakiba can get to the bottom of what’s causing your condition. Here are the most common culprits.
Common causes of urinary incontinence
As we mentioned, simply being a woman puts you behind the incontinence 8-ball. Carrying and delivering a baby can stretch out your skin and muscles, making it harder to keep urine from leaking. But even if you’ve never given birth, menopause can cause the same type of laxity.
And there are other factors that come into play as well, such as:
- A family history of incontinence
- Weakened bladder and urethra muscles
- Being a smoker
- Being overweight
- Having diabetes or other conditions that can damage nerves in your bladder
- Kidney problems
- Certain medications
Incontinence can even become a problem for reasons unrelated to your health. For instance, drinking beverages loaded with diuretics like caffeine can make you have to urinate more often, as can overhydration.
What you can do about incontinence
Incontinence is highly treatable and does not need to be a part of your life. Dr. Shakiba specializes in helping women reclaim their leak-free lives. Of course, the right treatment depends on the root cause of your incontinence, but you can rest assured that there’s a treatment just right for you.
You may need to incorporate a few exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor, or you may need a few sessions of percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation to trigger better function in your bladder and pelvic floor nerves.
When necessary, Dr. Shakiba performs minimally invasive surgery to support your bladder and keep your urethra from leaking.
Whatever the reason you keep dribbling a bit of urine, we can help get your life back to normal. To get started, just call us at 201-301-2772, or request an appointment online.