Bladder Control Treatment for Women – What’s Right for You?
November 19, 2021
Although going to the bathroom is not a typical conversation among women and their doctors, it’s an important one. It is a topic you may want to discuss with a urogynecologist, a physician who diagnoses, manages and treats pelvic health conditions in women. Kerac Falk, MD, a urogynecologist and assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Reno and Renown Health discusses overactive bladder in women and how to treat it.
According to the National Institutes of Health, about 1 in 4 women struggle with pelvic health conditions, with over 40 percent of women over age 60 experiencing problems.
While these conditions may be common, they shouldn’t just be accepted as a normal part of getting older. In fact, many women don’t think of urine leakage as a medical problem, and only 1 in 3 women with incontinence seek care. So, while these conditions may be common, they shouldn’t just be accepted as a normal part of getting older. There are excellent treatment options that can significantly improve the quality of life.
Overactive Bladder Symptoms in Women:
As your body changes and ages, so does your pelvic health. Whether you just had a baby, are experiencing urgency issues or find you cannot go about your daily routine, sneeze or laugh without leaking urine – you’re not alone. An overactive bladder, also known as OAB, is more than feeling an urgent need to go to the bathroom. It can also include the following:
- Incontinence or lack of control over urination
- Waking up in the middle of the night to empty your bladder
- Going to the bathroom often, even every 30 to 60 minutes
Symptoms of OAB can lead to a decreased quality of life, feeling as if you cannot go about your normal daily routine, or even become hazardous, increasing the risk of trips, falls, and bone fractures.
Various Treatments are Available:
- Behavioral management (eliminating coffee, soda and alcohol which irritate your bladder)
- Pelvic floor physical therapy to optimize nerve and muscular function and coordination to prevent leakage
- Medications including tablets and local estrogen replacement
- Pelvic nerve stimulation and reprogramming treatments
- Botox to relax the bladder muscle
Solutions for an Overactive Bladder:
Simply put, OAB is a nerve and muscle problem, so the bladder needs to calm down. Although there is no underlying reason for OAB, some underlying conditions may exist, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Recent trauma
- Neurological conditions (such as stroke and multiple sclerosis)
Lifestyle and non-invasive measures can usually reduce symptoms by as much as 50%, significantly improving quality of life. However, if these measures do not help your OAB, further bladder testing may be needed.
Dr. Falk notes that “every patient has a unique situation and set of symptoms. My job as a urogynecologist and pelvic floor subspecialist is to work as a team with each individual to figure out what’s going on and design the best treatment approach that fits your needs and goals, whether that is conservative or with more advanced procedures. The outcome we are working towards is improved quality of life.”
If you are bothered by your bladder, the best thing you can do is bring this up with your primary care doctor or gynecologist to begin to discuss solutions
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