If you occasionally leak a little urine when you cough or laugh, it might feel embarrassing, but you’re not alone. More than 40% of women over the age of 65 live with stress incontinence. At Womens Care of Bradenton, serving Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida, board-certified OB/GYN Arunachalam Jothivijayarani, MD, and her team of women’s health experts provide compassionate, expert diagnosis and treatment for incontinence. In most cases, incontinence is treatable, so don’t assume it’s an inevitable part of aging. Call the practice or schedule an appointment online today to get the medical help you need.
Incontinence is when you can’t stop urine from leaking out of your bladder. Stress incontinence develops when you have insufficient strength in your pelvic floor to support your bladder and urethra. When extra pressure is exerted on your bladder, for example when you sneeze, the liquid is forced out of your body.
Another common form of incontinence is urge incontinence. This condition occurs when the muscles that support your bladder spasm or tighten, causing a sudden and urgent need to urinate that you might not be able to control.
Stress incontinence is the most common form of incontinence, and it’s typically caused by weakness in your pelvic floor. A weak pelvic floor is common in women because of the physical stress of pregnancy and childbirth as well as the hormonal changes of menopause. When your estrogen levels drop, a condition can develop called vaginal atrophy, which weakens and thins the tissues in your vagina and pelvic region, decreasing the support available to your bladder and urinary tract.
Dr. Jothi diagnoses the cause of your incontinence symptoms with a physical exam and a variety of tests. During your exam, she checks for physical abnormalities like vulva problems that could contribute to your symptoms. She orders a urinalysis, blood work, and a vaginal culture test to check for signs of infections like UTIs, vaginitis, and other infections.
She may perform a post-void residual measurement to check if you’re fully emptying your bladder. Other tests include cystoscopy and ultrasounds, which allow Dr. Jothi to examine your bladder and urine flow.
Dr. Jothi provides customized incontinence treatments to resolve your system. She may begin your treatment with lifestyle modifications such as avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and other stimulants. She also may recommend exercises like Kegels and bladder training. These treatments are often offered as preventive suggestions in menopause management plans.
You may also benefit from medicine to calm your bladder. For example, Botox® injections are often used to reduce muscle spasms that cause urge incontinence. Also, topical vaginal estrogen can rejuvenate your tissues to improve support to your bladder. Dr. Jothi may also recommend urethral inserts or pessaries to support your bladder.
If incontinence is disrupting your life, call Womens Care of Bradenton or make an appointment online to get expert medical care from Dr. Jothi and her team.