Urinary incontinence is a problem for half the women in this country. It's a problem you don't have to suffer with. There are trained specialists in this field at Avera McKennan who can not only treat you, but cure you.
For a lot of women, sneezing, coughing, laughing and exercising can also mean a little leaking.
Avera Urogynecologist Dr. Matthew Barker says that falls into the "stress urinary incontinence" category. It happens most often in women younger than 60 years old. Urge incontinence is different, as is the therapy to treat it, and as we age, the chances of suffering from it also increase.
Dr. Matthew Barker with Avera Urogynecology Specialists says, "Urge incontinence is the involuntary leaking of urine because the bladder contracts at an abnormal time. Women describe it as not being able to make it to the toilet as they are opening the door or on a long car ride. Their bladder gets full causing it to contract."
Treatment varies for each patient, but Dr. Barker says it can include, medication, surgery, bladder retraining and/or physical therapy.
Staci Wietfeld is a physical therapist at Avera McKennan Rehabilitation Services. She says, "A lot of men and women who have leakage can have it do to weakness in the pelvic floor muscles. So we work to strengthen those weak muscles just like any other part of the body that's weak."
We also may make modifications to their diet and/or their fluid intake. We may also help by using different modalities, like electrical stimulation, to jump start the pelvic floor muscles."
Dr. Barker says, "It's interesting how prevalent urinary incontinence is, yet how infrequent women will seek out care for this. People think it's something you live with. The sanitary pads business is a $6 billion industry in itself just for urinary incontinence. It's important for women to understand there are people with special training who can improve their quality of life."
While incontinence is common, it is not normal. See a specialist and get back to living life without leakage.