Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)

weak strong pelvic muscles

Weak pelvic muscles can allow urine to leak out causing stress urinary incontinence.

Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is the most common type of incontinence. The “stress” in this incontinence refers to a physical stress that’s placed on the urinary system, such as a cough, sneeze, or laugh. About 50% of women occasionally experience SUI. While women experience stress incontinence more often then men, some men do experience it as well.Continue reading

Mixed Incontinence

doctor and patient

Make sure you discuss your diagnosis with your doctor to rule out mixed incontinence.

In some cases, urinary incontinence can be a combination of both stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and urge incontinence. It is important to realize that if you have mixed incontinence, but only treat one of the two types, you will still have incontinence. In other words, both types of incontinence must be treated to see desirable results.Continue reading

Surgeries for Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)

sling surgery for stress urinary incontinence

Creating a “sling” is one surgical method for helping alleviate the symptoms of stress urinary incontinence.

Surgeries for stress urinary incontinence (SUI) usually involve creating a small hammock under the bladder neck or mid urethra to help support it. Depending on the specific type of surgery, the hammock can be constructed of tissue taken from another area of your own body, or a synthetic material. When your sphincter muscle clamps down on the urethra, it presses against this new “hammock” which provides resistance and clamps the urethra closed, helping to keep urine in.Continue reading

Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises

pelvic floor muscle exercises will help strengthen the male pelvic floor muscles

This is a diagram of the male pelvic floor.  Men and women can both do pelvic floor muscle exercises to help strengthening the muscles located in their pelvic floors to help control urine leakage.

Pelvic floor muscle exercises make the pelvic floor muscles stronger.  Strengthening these muscles may help you have more control over leaking urine during times of physical stress, such as laughing, coughing, or sneezing.  These exercises are often referred to as Kegel exercises.

Everyone has a pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that form a hammock shape in your pelvis.  Pelvic floor muscles hold up the pelvic organs and keep them in the right place. In women these organs are the uterus, bowel and bladder. In men the same muscles hold the bowel and bladder. The muscles of the pelvic floor can become weak and can start to sag. This can happen because of injuries, pregnancy, childbirth, or surgery (including prostate surgery and hysterectomies). The muscles can also become weaker from carrying extra weight, or from chronic coughingContinue reading

Electric Stimulation of the Pelvic Floor Muscles

During electric stimulation (or e-stim for short), sticky pads are stuck to the skin around the vagina or a little piece of plastic is placed into the vagina or rectum. A very small amount of electricity goes into this pad or piece of plastic and makes the muscles move and contract.  These contractions are exercises for the pelvic floor muscles. With these exercises, the pelvic floor muscles can get stronger — just like an arm muscle that gets regular exercise. E-stim is usually started by a doctor, nurse practitioner, nurse or physical therapist. He or she will work with you one or more times per week for several weeks.  Practitioners usually incorporate biofeedback at the same time as the e-stim, but not always.Continue reading

Bulking Agents to Restore Urinary Continence

collagen used a bulking agent

Collagen is one of several bulking agents that may used to help restore continence.

Injections of one of several kinds of bulking agents is an outpatient procedure that may be used to restore urinary continence.  In this procedure a bulking agent (such as collagen, silicon and Teflon) is injected into the neck of the bladder.  This bulks the bladder neck and helps compress the urethra (the tube that leads urine out of the body), and thus helps to prevent urinary leakage.

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Biofeedback Therapy for Incontinence

biofeedback is a loop

Biofeedback provides you with immediate information about how well you are performing pelvic floor exercises.

Biofeedback is used to treat many conditions such as headaches, high blood pressure, and incontinence. Biofeedback helps you learn how to control certain functions in the body. You can get information from a computer that translates your body functions into pictures or numbers to help you learn to how to improve your muscle control.Continue reading

Artificial Sphincter Surgery for Urinary Incontinence

male artificial sphincter

Drawing of  a male artificial sphincter to control urination.

Everyone has a pelvic floor: it is a hammock of muscles that lies in your pelvis, supporting the organs (bowel, bladder, and – in women – the uterus) in that area and keeping them in the correct place. In your pelvic floor are a few muscles that are called “sphincters”. There is an internal and external sphincter surrounding the urethra (the tube that takes urine from the bladder out of your body). These urinary sphincters naturally contract around the urethra and keep urine inside your body until you relax the sphincters at a socially-acceptable time (generally when you’re using a toilet). As the urge to urinate increases, you can voluntarily increase the contraction of your sphincters to gain more control.Continue reading

Smoking and Incontinence

Man smoking a cigarette

Smoking may lead to bladder leakage.

Current and previous cigarette smokers are at an increased risk of experiencing stress urinary incontinence (SUI), bladder cancer, and other major health problems.  Cigarette smoking causes chronic coughing. A constant cough can damage the muscles of the pelvic floor. When these muscles are damaged, this can cause urine to leak due to a loss of stability and strength of the pelvic floor. Smoking is also known to be a bladder irritant, which could cause overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms.Continue reading