Both men and women in the United States can develop urinary incontinence — about a quarter to a third of the adult population, to be exact. Unfortunately, women account for a greater percentage of these numbers for a wide range of reasons.
If you’re struggling with urinary incontinence, Dr. Denise Molina Furlong and our team here at Chicago Center for Women’s Health pulled together the following information, which is specially targeted toward women. More importantly, we want you to know that there are solutions, and we can help.
Why women struggle more with urinary incontinence
There are several factors that place women more at risk for developing urinary incontinence, which include:
Pregnancy and childbirth
During pregnancy, some stress urinary incontinence is perfectly normal. With stress incontinence, there’s too much pressure on your bladder, which causes urine to leak out.
As you can imagine, a developing fetus can place a good deal of added pressure on your bladder, which is why urine may leak out more readily and at the slightest pressure, such as when you sneeze or cough.
But after you deliver, you may be left with ongoing urinary incontinence, as the support structures for your bladder (your pelvic floor, for example) are left weakened. You also may have incurred some nerve damage around your bladder, leading to overactive bladder.
As you pass through menopause, your reproductive hormone levels take a nosedive, which can lead to weakened pelvic support systems. As a result, your bladder may shift downward, in a condition known as a pelvic organ prolapse. This shift can lead to urinary incontinence.
Frequent urinary tract infections
Another reason why more women experience urinary incontinence is because they’re also more susceptible to urinary tract infections (UTIs). These infections can cause temporary incontinence issues.
Solutions for your urinary incontinence
Now that we better understand why women are more prone to urinary incontinence, let’s take a look at the many ways in which we can resolve the problem.
Our first step is to determine the underlying cause of your incontinence. For example, if it’s a UTI, a quick course of antibiotics should clear up the infection and the urinary leakage.
For longer-term problems, such as bladder prolapse, we can focus on strengthening the support of your bladder through pelvic floor exercises. Should this conservative approach not prove effective, we can look at solutions that provide extra support for your bladder, such as pessaries.
Hormone replacement therapy can also help to restrengthen your pelvic organ support.
If you have urge incontinence, we can try bladder training programs that help you better control your urges to urinate.
The bottom line is that we don’t consider urinary incontinence to be something you have to live with because there are solutions.
For relief from your urinary incontinence, please contact us at one of our two locations in Bedford Park or Oak Lawn, Illinois. You can call the office of your choice.