Stress Urinary Incontinence Treatment Melbourne

What is stress urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is a urinary dysfunction that involves the bladder and urethra. Continence is the ability of your urinary organs to control the flow of urine out of your body. When these urinary organs are damaged or weakened, their continence functionality can be impacted. Thus, resulting in urinary incontinence.

Stress incontinence is one of the most common types of continence dysfunctions that many patients suffer from. Although urinary incontinence is more prevalent in women, men can also be affected by this urinary condition.

This type of urinary incontinence is characterized by the inability to control the flow of waste fluid from the body due to the "stress" applied to your urinary organs. This pertains to the physical stress or pressure that is exerted on your bladder that causes the unwarranted leakage.

Other types of urinary incontinence that many patients may experience include, urge incontinence, overactive bladder, and mixed incontinence.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the urinary system work?

To better understand how and why stress incontinence occurs, it is noteworthy to understand the anatomy of the urinary system.

A Pair of Kidneys

These are bean-shaped organs that eliminate liquid waste called urea from the body. Urea is, then, sent in the bloodstream to the kidneys, where it is transported along with water and other wastes in the form of urine. This, in turn, is sent to the bladder and stored therein until it is time to release it from the body.

The Bladder

This urinary organ is the triangle-shaped hollow tissue used as storage of urine in the body. It is found in the lower abdomen and is held in place by ligaments that are attached to other organs and the pelvic bones.

As the bladder is filled with urine, its walls expand to store up to two cups of urine for about 2 to 5 hours. urine, and contract and flatten to empty urine through the urethra. It holds the urine until you allow the release of the fluid when you pee.

The Urethra

This is the tube that connects the bladder to the opening of the body where urine is allowed to pass. When the bladder is full and ready to be emptied, the brain will send neurotransmitters to the bladder muscles to contract and squeeze out the stored fluid through the urethra. This, in turn, will cause the sphincter to open and release the urine.

The Sphincter

As the brain signals the bladder muscle to release the urine, it also signals the sphincter or urethral closure to open to allow the fluid to pass through. The sphincter is a circular muscle that helps keep waste fluid from leaking. It can be characterized as a rubberized bottle cap that tightly closes the opening of the bladder to ensure that no unwarranted leakage will happen.

If these organs, especially the bladder and sphincter, together with the pelvic floor, are functioning well, no uncontrolled leakages should be expected and normal urination occurs. However, if the bladder and urethral closure are damaged or weakened, continence dysfunctions may occur.

What are the signs and symptoms of stress incontinence?

The most common symptom of stress incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine control when coughing, sneezing, and laughing. Stress urinary incontinence may also be experienced when engaging in heavy weight lifting and other exercises or physical activities that cause pressure to the muscles surrounding the bladder.

In some cases, uncontrollable leakage happens during sexual intercourse. In which case, continence dysfunction does not only affect the medical or health of women but their quality of life as well.

If you experience the uncontrollable urge to urinate even after coming from a bathroom trip, this is a sign of urge incontinence or an overactive bladder. Some patients feel the urge to pee right after sexual activity which can still be considered are urge incontinence.

In some cases, involuntary leaking when coughing, sneezing, lifting heavy objects, and laughing can be coupled with a sudden urge to urinate. In which case, you are suffering from mixed incontinence.

What are the signs and symptoms of SUI?

When should you go and see your doctor for a diagnosis?

You of all people should know yourself best. You ought to know when your health is failing, when something is not right or when a bodily function turns into dysfunction or disorder. In this light, you should be able to distinguish a normal urination process from something that seems irregular.

When you incur leakage when you laugh, cough or sneeze, this should alert you that something may be wrong with your continence functionality. Thus, at the first sign of uncontrollable leakage, no matter the volume, you should immediately visit your doctor or specialist to have a proper diagnosis.

When should you go and see your doctor for a diagnosis?

What are the available treatment options for stress incontinence?

Urinary incontinence can be treated with the following approaches:

Behavioural Therapy

This is a self-help remedy where you change your lifestyle habits to healthier ways. This includes eating fibre-rich foods, reducing caffeine, acid and alcohol intake, and avoiding cigarette smoking. You may also prevent yourself from engaging in exercises that aggravate leakages such as jumping, bending and jogging.

For overweight or obese patients, your doctor may recommend that you lose some weight and observe a healthier diet. It may also be best to keep track of your urination by keeping a record, hence, you may include bladder diaries which you may submit to your doctor during your incontinence routine check-ups.

Pelvic Floor Muscle Training

Weakened pelvic floor muscles often lead to urinary and vaginal issues, hence, keeping them strong and intact can help reduce any dysfunctions that may affect the urinary and vaginal structures.

The following are highly recommended pelvic floor exercises that can reduce continence dysfunction:

  • Kegel exercises;
  • Biofeedback;
  • Vaginal cones; and
  • Electrical stimulation.

Medication

These are mostly estrogen supplements to induce hormonal balance in a woman’s body. Most of these medications come in oral or topical form. Recently, the use of pseudoephedrine has shown some success in patients diagnosed with incontinence.

Surgery

Traditional surgery is ideal for severe cases of stress, mixed and urge incontinence. Many surgical procedures cater to vagina repairs that involve the restoration of the functionality of the bladder and urethra.

Laser Treatments

Laser treatment is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a probe to emit heat energy into the walls of the vagina. The heat tends to strengthen the supporting and connecting tissues of the vagina and pelvic floor muscles. This, in turn, provides support and strength to the bladder’s supporting tissues. Thus, alleviating the signs and symptoms of incontinence.

Sling Procedure

This is a surgical treatment that involves the use of sling-like support to the urethral closure. During surgery, natural body tissues or a synthetic mesh will be used to create a pelvic sling to hold the urethra closed despite any pressure applied. Thus, preventing the urethra to leak urine. Sling procedures are best used to treat incontinence.

What is the best treatment for continence dysfunction?

The best treatment for a patient may vary depending on the type and severity of continence dysfunction that he or she is experiencing. During your consultation, your doctor will conduct a comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis to assess your health and body conditions.

After a comprehensive assessment, your doctor will create a patient-specific treatment plan that will determine the best remedies applicable for you. Whether you prefer a surgical or non-surgical treatment also depends on the diagnosis of your doctor.

If your doctor deems fit that surgery is not the best option for your continence dysfunction, he or she will thoroughly explain what it is so. Your doctor will also recommend other treatments available that will work best with your body.

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