Put Aside Embarrassment and Put an End to Urinary Incontinence
By Joseph Maccarone, MD, Urogynecologist—Virtua Female Pelvic Medicine
More than 18 million women in the United States suffer from urinary incontinence (involuntary urine leakage)—often waiting 6 YEARS or more to seek medical care for urinary incontinence, even though it's highly treatable.
Many women are worried the condition will lead to more serious health concerns or require invasive surgery. Others think urinary incontinence is something they just have to live with. But it's not something anyone needs to live with. Our goal is to provide compassionate, comfortable care, offering women successful treatment and solutions with the lowest risk.
Is it stress incontinence or urge incontinence?
Stress incontinence is activity-related and is usually experienced by women in their 30s to 50s. It's the kind of leakage that happens when you jump, laugh, sneeze, or cough.
Stress incontinence is often the result of weakened pelvic floor muscles that make it harder for your urethra (the tube that keeps urine in the bladder) to close.
Urge incontinence—the "gotta-go-right-now" feeling—is common in post-menopausal women. It can be temporary or long-term. Characterized by the sudden urge to pee that leads to either urine leakage or the fear of urine leakage—urge incontinence may also accompany neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson's disease.
Urinary incontinence treatments
Treatment for urinary incontinence is not one-size-fits-all. We work with you to personalize a treatment plan that works best for you and your lifestyle.
There are many safe, effective, and minimally or noninvasive treatments available.
For stress incontinence
Sling procedures—those that may use synthetic mesh to hold the urethra properly in place—are often the most effective treatments available for stress incontinence and are performed in an outpatient setting. The mesh used is smaller and placed differently than the kind that was associated with potentially debilitating complications.
Other stress incontinence treatments include physical therapy, bladder training, and the use of a device called a vaginal pessary, which lifts and supports the urethra. Another option involves injecting materials to "bulk up" the area surrounding the urethra.
For urge incontinence
Physical therapy, bladder training, and vaginal devices are also options for treating urge incontinence, as are electrical and nerve stimulation, oral medications, and Botox injections. Another recommended therapy involves implanting a "pacemaker" into the buttocks that delivers mild electrical pulses to the nerves that control the bladder and surrounding muscles.
Urinary incontinence is NOT something you need to live with. It's treatable with therapies that eliminate both discomfort and inconvenience.
Do this for yourself—put aside your fears, frustration, and embarrassment and connect with us for help.
Updated July 15, 2021