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Women with urinary incontinence shouldn't live in silence with their symptoms. “More women are realizing urinary incontinence is not normal and they don’t have to live with it,” says Aldo Ghobriel, M.D., a urologist on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Garland.
Stress incontinence, common after pregnancy, is leaking that happens with sneezing, coughing, laughing, lifting or exercising.
Urge incontinence is a sudden, strong urge to urinate, followed by bladder contraction and leakage. “The treatments can sometimes be completely different,” says Dr. Ghobriel.
Kegel exercises complement any treatment plan by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder and urethra.
For stress incontinence, collagen injections may be used to thicken the area around the urethra, helping to control leakage. While “medication is the first line of treatment for urge incontinence,” Dr. Ghobriel says.
If surgery is necessary, the minimally invasive sling procedure is the most common treatment for stress incontinence.
Working through a few small incisions, the surgeon attaches a small piece of mesh underneath the urethra. “When a patient coughs or sneezes, the sling provides a foundation for the urethra,” Dr. Ghobriel explains.
Surgery is less commonly used to treat urge incontinence. “An InterStim® unit, which is like a bladder pacemaker, can be surgically implanted if patients don’t respond to medication,” he says. The device sends small electrical pulses to the sacral nerve, which can relieve the frequency of bladder contractions.
If you experience urinary incontinence, the right treatment option can get you out of the ladies’ room and back in control.
For a referral to a physician on the Baylor Scott & White – Garland medical staff, call 1.800.4BAYLOR or find one online.
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