Urology Conditions That Affect Women

Incontinence, Interstitial Cystitis & Overactive Bladder 

Talking about urinary incontinence, even with your doctor, can be awkward at any age. But according to the Urology Care Foundation, 1 in 3 women will experience stress urinary incontinence (SUI) in their lifetime, making it a very common health issue. It occurs when an activity, like laughing or coughing, causes urine to leak out. The amount of urine loss can be anything from a few drops to tablespoons or more.

It’s important to note that incontinence is not just a medical problem. It affects a woman’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Many women become afraid to participate in normal activities that might take them too far from a toilet. The good news is that most cases of SUI can be treated successfully.

The urologists of UCA are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment options for urinary incontinence in men and women. “Mild SUI is often triggered by some sort of activity, like exercise or from sneezing, laughing, coughing or lifting, explains Dr. Steven Richards with UCA Jamesburg. “Moderate or severe SUI occurs with any type of small movement, such as standing up, walking or bending over.”

The Urology Care Foundation states that “SUI is more common among older women, but age and gender are not the only factors”. Several factors contribute to SUI by stretching, weakening or damaging the pelvic floor muscles. Risk factors include:

  • Overweight/Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Chronic Coughing
  • Pregnancy and Childbirth
  • Nerve Injuries to the Lower Back
  • Pelvic surgery

Urologists at UCA recommend several methods to diagnose SUI. “It’s helpful to keep notes on your bladder activity (sort of a bladder diary) before your appointment,” explains Dr. Deven Gabale, from UCA Newtown. “These details can be helpful in determining why and when your leakage occurs and what you might be able to change in your everyday life to prevent it from happening in the future.”

According to Dr. Gabale, diagnosis of SUI begins with a thorough medical history. “Talking about your leakage problems can be embarrassing. But, providing more information will help to determine the cause of your leakage,” says Dr. Gabale.

In addition to a full medical history, the urologist will also conduct a physical exam, and conduct urodynamic tests to determine at what stage of pressure your full bladder begins to leak and how your bladder empties.

Today, more than ever, help is available. SUI usually can be cured, treated, or managed so that bladder control problems don’t interfere with a healthy and active lifestyle. Take control of your health and speak with your personal physician today about SUI, or contact a UCA urologist to discuss your health concerns and possible treatment options.

Understanding Interstitial Cystitis 

Painful bladder syndrome, clinically referred to as interstitial cystitis (IC), is a chronic bladder condition that causes people to feel pressure and discomfort in the bladder, as well as overall pelvic pain in some cases. The bladder is the hollow organ located in the pelvic area and behind the pubic bone that collects and stores urine created in the kidneys.

Some research suggests that interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome is not one condition but rather a collection of diseases, which is called a syndrome. IC is more likely to affect women than men for inconclusive reasons. Symptoms of IC are similar to those of other urinary disorders, so the urologist will try to first rule out the prospect of other conditions, such as urinary tract infection (UTI).

Managing an Overactive Bladder

Having an overactive bladder is another term for having bladder control problems, or difficulty controlling when and how much a person urinates. This condition affects many people at some point in life. Symptoms of an overactive bladder may include feeling an urgent need to use the bathroom, needing to urinate frequently, experiencing large or small leaks of urine, or feeling unable to empty the bladder completely.

Today, more than ever, help is available for female urology problems and conditions, so they don’t interfere with a healthy and active lifestyle. Take control of your health and speak with your personal physician today, or contact a UCA urologist to discuss your health concerns and possible treatment options.