Let’s start with the most important thing you should know about urinary incontinence — it's far from uncommon. In fact, one-quarter to one-third of adult men and women in the United States have urinary incontinence for various reasons.
As women’s health experts, Dr. Gary Willen and the rest of our team at Tahoe Women’s Care understand the many reasons why urinary incontinence develops in women, and we explore five of them here.
Let’s start with one of the most common drivers of urinary incontinence — pregnancy. This type of urinary incontinence, which is called stress incontinence, develops with pregnancy, and thankfully it often remedies itself after you’ve given birth.
The reason behind this incontinence is that your growing baby places pressure on your bladder, which means every sneeze, cough, or even laugh can cause urine to escape from your bladder.
2. After childbirth
While many women regain control over their bladders after they’ve given birth, some are left with weakened bladder-support systems. This type of incontinence can linger for months, or even years, after you’ve given birth. We can typically remedy the problem through targeted exercises, as well as through vaginal rejuvenation with our cutting-edge MonaLisa Touch laser treatments.
3. Pelvic organ prolapse
Your pelvic organs are supported and held in place by your pelvic floor. If that floor weakens, which can happen with age or after pregnancy, your bladder may shift downward into your vagina, which can lead to incontinence.
If we diagnose you with bladder prolapse, you can take steps to strengthen your pelvic floor through targeted exercises, as well as with a pessary, which is an insert that holds your bladder in place.
If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you know that incontinence can be one of the side effects. The infection causes spasms in your bladder and urethra that interfere with your ability to “hold” your urine.
The good news is that we can quickly clear up the UTI with a course of antibiotics.
5. Nerve damage
If the nerves around your urinary tract are damaged, it can lead to urinary incontinence. This can develop if you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s disease. As well, if you sustain nerve damage because of a surgery or infection, this may also interfere with your ability to hold urine.
Outside of these five problems, please note that there are some medications or substances that can lead to temporary urinary incontinence. As examples, diuretics that treat heart or liver problems or substances like caffeine can lead to an overactive bladder.
If you’re struggling with urinary incontinence, the most important step is to come see us so that we can evaluate the problem and get you on the road to better bladder health.
To get started, contact our office in Carson City, Nevada, to set up an appointment.