Taking Control of Female Incontinence

As women, we juggle many roles - we're professionals, caregivers, mothers, partners, and friends. In our packed schedules, we often put ourselves last, even when it comes to our health. One such issue many women sideline is incontinence. It's seen as an inconvenient part of life, especially after childbirth or as we age, something we should just “deal with.” However, ignoring incontinence can lead to diminished quality of life and potential health complications. We're here to tell you that you don't have to just “deal with it.” It's time to put your health back on your priority list. At Urology Care P.C. in Tucson, AZ, we understand the demands of a busy life and strive to provide effective, efficient treatment solutions for incontinence, so you can get back to living your life fully and confidently.

Understanding Female Incontinence

Incontinence is a common issue that many women face, particularly as they age or after childbirth. It can cause emotional distress, social embarrassment, and a significant impact on quality of life. As healthcare providers at Urology Care P.C. in Tucson, AZ, we are here to guide you through your options and help you regain control.

Urinary incontinence — an often ignored but prevalent issue — affects many women across the world. But what is female incontinence, exactly? Quite simply, it's the involuntary leakage of urine, an issue that can range from mildly inconvenient to significantly disruptive in daily life. Incontinence can manifest itself in several forms, and understanding these types is key to dealing with this issue effectively:

  1. Stress Incontinence: This is the most common type of incontinence, where urine leaks out when there's pressure exerted on the bladder. This pressure can come from coughing, laughing, sneezing, or exercising.
  2. Urge Incontinence: Often referred to as overactive bladder, this type of incontinence involves a sudden, uncontrollable urge to urinate, even when the bladder isn't full. Women with urge incontinence often find themselves needing to urinate frequently and may experience involuntary urine leakage.
  3. Overflow Incontinence: This type of incontinence occurs when the bladder doesn't empty properly, leading to a constant dribble of urine. Overflow incontinence can result from nerve damage or obstruction in the urinary tract.
  4. Functional Incontinence: This type of incontinence is characterized by physical or mental impairments that prevent a person from reaching the toilet in time. Conditions like arthritis, which can make it challenging to unbutton pants quickly, can lead to functional incontinence.

Understanding the nature of female incontinence is the first step in taking control. If you're experiencing any symptoms of incontinence, it's important to seek medical help, as effective treatments are available.

Causes of Female Incontinence

The causes and risk factors associated with female incontinence are many and varied, and knowing them can be helpful in managing the condition:

  1. Age: As women get older, the muscles in the bladder and urethra lose some of their strength. Changes with age reduce how much the bladder can hold and increase the chances of involuntary urine release.
  2. Childbirth: Vaginal delivery can weaken muscles needed for bladder control and damage bladder nerves and supportive tissue, leading to a dropped (prolapsed) pelvic floor. With prolapse, the bladder, uterus, rectum, or small intestine can get pushed down from the usual position and protrude into the vagina. Such protrusions can be associated with incontinence.
  3. Menopause: After menopause, women produce less estrogen, a hormone that helps keep the lining of the vagina under the bladder and urethra healthy. With less estrogen, these tissues may deteriorate, which can aggravate incontinence.
  4. Certain Medical Conditions: Conditions like neurological disorders, diabetes, obesity, and urinary tract infections can increase the likelihood of incontinence.

Female incontinence is a widespread issue, but it's essential to remember that it's not an inevitable part of aging or being a woman. Understanding the causes and risk factors can help you take steps to mitigate the risk. If you suspect you're experiencing symptoms of incontinence, remember it's never too early or too late to reach out to a healthcare provider.

Identifying Female Incontinence

Female incontinence can range from a small amount of leakage when you cough or sneeze, known as stress incontinence, to having an intense urge to urinate that's difficult to control, termed as urge incontinence. Some women experience a combination of both, known as mixed incontinence. Factors like age, childbirth, obesity, and certain medical conditions can increase the risk of developing urinary incontinence. To know if you have incontinence, pay attention to frequent or sudden urges to urinate, leakage of urine when you exert pressure on your bladder like when you laugh, cough, sneeze, or exercise, or if you find yourself needing to get up multiple times during the night to urinate. If these signs sound familiar, it might be time to reach out to us at Urology Care P.C., where we can help identify the cause and find a suitable treatment for you.

Diagnosing incontinence involves a thorough evaluation of your medical history and symptoms, physical examination, and a variety of tests.

Medical History: The first step in diagnosing urinary incontinence is a thorough discussion of your medical history and symptoms. We will ask about your urination habits, any leakage incidents, and any associated symptoms.

Physical Examination: A physical exam typically includes a pelvic exam to assess the strength of your pelvic floor muscles and the health of your tissues.

Bladder Diary: We might ask you to keep a bladder diary for a few days. In this diary, you'll record when, how much, and what kind of fluids you consume, the number of times you urinate, the amount of urine you produce, and any episodes of incontinence.

Urine Test: A urinalysis can help rule out urinary tract infections or other conditions that can cause similar symptoms.

Bladder Stress Test: During a bladder stress test, you'll be asked to cough vigorously or bear down as we evaluate for loss of urine.

Importance of Early Intervention for Female Incontinence

Addressing female incontinence early is crucial for effective treatment and maintaining a high quality of life. It's easy to ignore the initial symptoms or chalk it up to “normal” post-childbirth changes or aging, but untreated incontinence can lead to social embarrassment, emotional distress, and, over time, skin problems or infections. Furthermore, it can be a sign of an underlying medical condition that needs attention. Pelvic floor exercises designed to strengthen the muscles that support the bladder, should be recommended to every woman after childbirth, even if incontinence isn't immediately apparent. These exercises can significantly reduce the risk of developing incontinence and other pelvic floor disorders in the future. At Urology Care P.C., we strongly advocate for early intervention and preventative care to help women regain control and continue leading active, fulfilling lives.

Personalized Treatment Plans and Advanced Options

At Urology Care P.C., our approach begins with developing a comprehensive understanding of each patient's unique circumstances. Incontinence is not a one-size-fits-all condition and the treatment shouldn't be either. We work with our patients to develop a tailored treatment plan that aligns with their lifestyle and personal needs.

Our treatment options are diverse and aim to address the issue at different levels. For many, lifestyle modifications and pelvic floor exercises may be enough to manage symptoms effectively. These exercises strengthen the muscles that support your bladder, improving control and reducing episodes of incontinence.

For those requiring further treatment, we may prescribe medications that can calm an overactive bladder or increase the amount of urine your bladder can hold.

More advanced options include Empower RF (Morpheus 8V, FormaV and VTone) bladder botox and neuromodulation. Neuromodulation, such as percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation or sacral neuromodulation, involves stimulating the nerves that control the bladder, which can help manage symptoms of overactive bladder and urge incontinence.   

Advanced Treatments: Bladder Botox and Neuromodulation

We pride ourselves on offering cutting-edge treatments like bladder botox injections and neuromodulation.

Bladder botox injections involve injecting Botox into the bladder muscle, which blocks nerve signals that trigger overactive bladder, reducing urinary frequency and leakage. This non-surgical procedure is minimally invasive and can significantly improve symptoms of overactive bladder.

Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS) is a non-invasive overactive bladder (OAB) treatment. The treatment changes bladder function and activity by indirectly providing electrical stimulation to the nerves responsible for bladder and pelvic floor function.

For patients experiencing the symptoms of overactive bladder (OAB), such as urgency, frequency, and incontinence, PTNS can be an effective treatment.  It may be offered  after behavior modifications, Kegel exercises, or medications have been ineffective.

Sacral neuromodulation uses a small device, similar to a pacemaker, which is implanted under the skin. This device sends mild electrical pulses to the sacral nerves, located near the tailbone, which control the bladder and muscles related to urinary function. This can help restore bladder function in those with urge incontinence, overactive bladder, and other types of incontinence.

Innovative EmpowerRF for Comprehensive Feminine Wellness

EmpowerRF is an innovative therapeutic solution that reinforces your pelvic floor through increased, rehabilitated muscle strength and improves vaginal health.  This dual capability boosts muscle tone and restores vaginal quality and integrity to provide substantial relief from urinary incontinence. As a non-surgical approach to vaginal rejuvenation, EmpowerRF also tightens slackened skin, elevates the aesthetics of your intimate area, eliminates dryness and discomfort with intimacy and amplifies pleasure during sexual activity.

Morpheus 8-V and FormaV from InMode are the latest state-of-the-art, non-surgical technological advancements for vaginal rejuvenation. These in-office technologies are 20 years in the making and provide superior results for women’s intimate needs. Vaginal Rejuvenation is the process of rejuvenating or making the vaginal characteristics that enhance a woman’s vaginal wellness, sensitivity, and intimacy. 

Dr. Bernstein has been practicing vaginal rejuvenation since 2017.  Over the past few years, Dr. Bernstein has expanded the Vaginal Rejuvenation options her office offers, including VTone and the less invasive, less painful non-surgical forms, such as the InMode Morpheus 8-V and FormaV. 

Morpheus 8-V and FormaV treat:

  • Painful Sex
  • Loose Vagina Walls
  • Vaginal Dryness Sensation
  • Lower Sex Drive
  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Sagging, Wrinkled or Enlarged Labia

FormaV is a non-invasive skin and tissue remodeling device that utilizes a subdermal heating applicator.  Electrodes conduct radio frequency waves to improve vaginal and labial elasticity, sensitivity, dryness and low blood flow. 

Morpheus 8-V is a small microneedling handpiece designed to rejuvenate the vaginal and vulvar tissues by delivering a deeper tissue penetration.  In addition to the substantial enhancement it provides from microneedling alone, it emits radio frequency (RF) energy to provide further benefits. 

Surgical Solutions for Incontinence

While we believe in exhausting non-surgical treatments first, there are instances where surgical intervention is the most suitable option. Surgery can be particularly beneficial for women with stress urinary incontinence (SUI).

At Urology Care P.C., we provide safe and effective surgical solutions like the urethral sling procedures. A sling procedure involves placing a strip of mesh under the urethra to provide support in order to prevent urinary incontinence.

Each treatment plan we devise is evidence-based, patient-centric, and designed to offer long-term relief from incontinence, helping you regain control and improve your quality of life.

Living a Full Life Despite Incontinence

Incontinence should not hold you back from enjoying your life to the fullest. At Urology Care P.C., we work tirelessly to help you regain control and restore your confidence. We are an all-women practice dedicated to providing a safe and supportive environment for our patients, where you can feel comfortable discussing your concerns and exploring the best treatment options for you. We are here to help you navigate through this journey and reclaim your life from the constraints of incontinence.

Why Choose Urology Care P.C. for your Non-surgical Vaginal Rejuvenation?

At Urology Care P.C., we are here to create a safe space for our patients while we address their most sensitive needs, concerns, and symptoms.  We understand many patients can feel embarrassed or troubled about their female pelvic conditions, and that is why we employ an all-female staff to deliver the most effective and current treatments in a comfortable environment.  The Urology Care P.C. team, under the direction of Dr. Iris B. Bernstein, has years of experience providing patients with the best care, superb customer satisfaction, and the most advanced treatments and procedures.  Whether you want to learn more about VTone’s electric muscle stimulation or how Morpheus 8-V could benefit you or have more questions about the non-invasive vaginal tightening treatment, FormaV, reach out to our team of board-certified physicians today.  Or, if you are ready to schedule an appointment, request a consultation at 520-298-7200.