Associated Urologists of North Carolina
Urologists located in Apex, Cary, Clayton, Clinton, Dunn, Raleigh & Wake Forest, NC
Whether your urge to urinate is usually strong and overwhelming, or you sometimes leak a small amount of urine during normal activities, you’re not alone — urinary incontinence (UI) is a common medical problem that affects millions of men and women. UI may be stressful, but it isn’t a problem you have to live with. The experienced team at the Associated Urologists of North Carolina provides complete care for patients with UI at seven locations in Apex, Cary, Clayton, Clinton, Dunn, Raleigh, and Wake Forest, North Carolina. Call your nearest office or book an appointment online today.
Urinary Incontinence Q & A
What’s Urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence (UI), or loss of bladder control, is the involuntary leaking of urine, either in the form of a few drops or something more severe. UI may include:
- Leaking urine before you can reach a bathroom
- A sudden urge to urinate that can’t be controlled
- Urine leakage while coughing, sneezing, or exercising
Although UI occurs more frequently as people get older, it shouldn’t be considered an unavoidable result of aging — most cases of UI can be improved or reversed with the right approach.
Are There Different Types of Urinary Incontinence?
While all forms of UI involve the involuntary leakage of urine, the underlying cause of the problem isn’t always the same. There are three main types of UI:
- Stress Incontinence: As the most common form of UI, stress incontinence occurs when physical movement puts pressure on your bladder. Stress incontinence can cause you to leak urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh, exercise, have sex, or lift something heavy.
- Urge Incontinence: Sometimes referred to as having an overactive bladder, urge incontinence is characterized by a strong and sudden urge to urinate that can’t be controlled. This type of leakage typically occurs throughout the day and persists throughout the night.
- Mixed Incontinence: Many men and women have mixed incontinence, meaning they experience symptoms related to both stress and urge incontinence.
What Causes Urinary Incontinence?
Although UI affects men and women alike, it usually happens for different reasons.
Men are more likely to develop the issue because of an enlarged prostate or a problem with the nerve signal that controls bladder function; male UI can also be a sign of undiagnosed prostate cancer or a side effect of prostate cancer treatment.
Women are twice as likely to have UI than men, largely due to the stresses and changes brought on by pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause.
The extra weight of pregnancy can weaken pelvic floor muscles, while vaginal childbirth can exacerbate pelvic floor weakness and damage the nerves that control bladder function. UI is also more common during menopause when lower estrogen levels lead to weaker urethral tissues.
How is Urinary Incontinence Treated?
Many cases of UI can be successfully treated through specific lifestyle changes, physical therapy, urgency suppression training, and bladder support devices.
If you’re overweight, dropping a few pounds can take the pressure off your bladder. Women and men alike can benefit from performing pelvic floor training exercises or Kegels to strengthen the sling of muscles that support the bladder. If you feel the need to urinate frequently, a low-sodium diet can also be helpful.
The team at the Associated Urologists of North Carolina can also help you regain control through bladder retraining, a process that involves going to the bathroom at set times, even when you don’t feel the urge.
To learn about all the UI solutions available at the Associated Urologists of North Carolina, call your nearest office or request an appointment online today.