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Women’s Health: Urinary Incontinence

Unlike most urological issues, urinary incontinence is a symptom instead of a disease or medical condition. Women make up more than half of the 13 million people who suffer from urinary incontinence in the United States. The main factors that contribute to the large discrepancy between sexes are childbirth, menopause and the anatomical structure of the female urinary tract.

Signs and Contributing Factors

Urinary incontinence is the accidental or uncontrolled release of urine.

Women suffer from two kinds of urinary incontinence:

  • Stress Incontinence: Women will encounter urinary incontinence heavy laughter, a cough or sneeze, exercise, or other sharp and sudden movements. It can also be caused when pressure is placed on the bladder. This is the most common bladder problem faced by women.
  • Urge Incontinence: Women suffering from urge incontinence will experience a sudden urge to urinate and be unable to get to a bathroom in time. Urge incontinence can even happen when very little water is in the bladder, and some women will sense no warning before experiencing urine loss.

Next Steps and Diagnosis

Since urinary incontinence is a symptom of other urological problems, the best way to treat incontinence is to treat the main problem. Women suffering from incontinence are urged to contact their gynecologist or urologist in order to set up an appointment. From there, the provider will attempt to diagnose and determine what is causing the incontinence and then be able to provide treatment.

Common causes for incontinence are urinary tract infections and constipation – if patients have recently experienced either of these issues, they should notify their provider as soon as possible.

If you are suffering from urinary incontinence to a point where it limits your lifestyle, or you are worried about larger urological health issues due to incontinence, Associated Urologists of North Carolina offers personalized care to each and every one of our patients. You will meet and form a relationship with one of our board certified specialists who will then map out the best treatment plan for you. Our main branch and administrative office is located at 3821 Ed Drive, Raleigh, NC 27612 and can be reached at 919-758-8677. All eight of our clinics, conveniently located throughout the region to serve our patients, can be found on our contact page.

Women’s Health: Pelvic Organ Prolapse

One of the most common women’s health issues, pelvic organ prolapse (POP) has been medically documented for more than 4,000 years. Since some women don’t show symptoms of POP, and those who do show it are often too embarrassed or confused to ask for help, it’s important to be aware of how POP affects the female body and just how common it is.

Symptoms

The most common symptom of POP is the uterus, or other organs, pressing against the vaginal wall. This pressure can cause vaginal discomfort and cause pelvic organs to function abnormally.

Symptoms other than the telltale pelvic pressure include:

  • The sensation that something is falling out of the vagina
  • Vaginal spotting and/or bleeding
  • Experiencing pain during intercourse
  • Issues with urination, including incontinence (involuntary release of urine), frequent sensations of needing to urinate, most often at night
  • Bowel related problems, such as constipation

Women experiencing any of these symptoms should immediately contact their family doctor, urologist or gynecologist in order to be tested and diagnosed with POP.

Next Steps

Women most likely to suffer from POP will have experienced at least one of the following: vaginal childbirth, menopause, constipation/IBS, chronic coughing, rigorous exercise or heavy lifting, other family members diagnosed with POP and neuromuscular diseases. Women seeking medical attention for symptoms should notify their providers if any of these causes are part of their medical history.

Some providers and their patients will enter a stage known as “watchful waiting,” when symptoms and conditions are monitored in order to decide, going forward, if and how to provide treatment.

Tests for POP will begin with a pelvic examination. From there, the provider will determine the best course of action for additional tests.

If you feel you may be suffering symptoms of POP, or your medical history includes many of the known causes of POP, contact Associated Urologists of North Carolina in order to set up an appointment with one of our certified urological specialists. Our main office and administrative phone number is 919-758-8677, and the contact information and driving directions for all eight of our regional offices can be found on our website.

Local Pediatrics: Urinary Frequency

Pollakiuria, more commonly known as urinary frequency, is when a previously toilet trained child shows a sudden increase in frequency of needing to urinate throughout the day. These frequent bathroom trips will be partnered with much smaller amounts of urine expelled than normal.

Children ranging from 3-14 years old may suffer from pollakiuria, and those ages 5-6 are the most likely to have symptoms. Urinary frequency is self-limited, meaning it eventually resolves itself on its own and has no long-term health risks. The average case of urinary frequency will last approximately 7-12 months.  

Symptoms and Signs

  • Increased frequency of urination, often ranging from 15-20 minutes, though the window can be as small as 5-minute intervals between bathroom visits
  • Small amounts of urine loss
  • Normal urine color, odor and stream
  • No change in bowel movements or health
  • Able to sleep through the night without accidents
    • Approximately 25% of children suffering from pollakiuria will experience urgency at night
  • No abnormal sensations or pain

Diagnosis and Next Steps

Even though urinary frequency in children has no long-term ill effects, parents often feel distress due to their child’s discomfort and concern over how constant interruptions to urinate may affect school and other daily activities. Upon contacting their pediatrician or pediatric urologist, parents should be prepared to discuss medical history, including if the child has suffered from urinary tract infections. Parents can also expect doctors to perform a few tests in order to rule out more serious urological problems.

There are no known causes of pollakiuria, though stress is considered the most likely trigger. Children experiencing significant social or emotional stressors at home or school are the most likely to suffer from urinary frequency. Fortunately, improvement is often seen when the stressor is addressed, be it through therapy or some other intervention.

The main treatments for urinary frequency are simple. The first is to reassure the child (and parents) that there is nothing abnormal about the situation and that it will resolve itself, usually within weeks or one or two months. The second is to attempt to discern the emotional trigger and allow the child to address that trigger with his or her parents and possibly a therapist.

If your child is showing signs of urinary frequency or any other urological issues, AUNC offers personalized pediatric services and can help bring comfort to your child and to you. Our main branch and administrative office is located at 3821 Ed Drive, Raleigh, NC 27612 and can be reached at 919-758-8677. We have eight clinics conveniently located throughout the region, and their contact information, including driving directions, can be found on our “Contact Us” page on our website.