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Urinary Incontinence in Cincinnati, OH

Bladder control issues and urinary incontinence are more common than we realize and affect millions of women of all ages. Bladder control issues may profoundly affect your quality of life, causing undue stress on your professional and social life. Drs. Chandra Gravely and Cindy Hansel, the board-certified gynecologists (OB-GYN) at the Crescent Women’s Medical Group located in Cincinnati and serving in and around Blue Ash and the surrounding communities of Ohio, can help you regain control of your bladder and your life.

Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence and bladder control issues may cause varying symptoms depending on the cause and type of problem. Symptoms may range from minor leaking to frequent accidents.

Types of urinary incontinence or bladder control issues include:

  • Stress incontinence happens when the bladder’s sphincter muscle is weakened by such conditions as pregnancy, childbirth or menopause. Typical symptoms of stress incontinence include minor leaking of urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh, exercise or lift something heavy.
  • Urge incontinence is marked by a sudden intense need to urinate followed by involuntary emptying of the bladder, causing embarrassing accidents. Urge incontinence may be caused by a number of medical conditions including urinary tract infections, bladder irritants, bowel problems, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, injury or nervous system damage associated with multiple sclerosis. In some cases, there is no known cause, and urge incontinence is referred to as overactive bladder.
  • Overflow incontinence presents as an inability to empty the bladder completely, resulting in frequent or constant leaking of urine. This condition may affect people with a damaged bladder, blocked urethra or nerve damage caused by diabetes, multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury.

Causes and Risk Factors of Urinary Incontinence or Bladder Control Issues

Bladder control issues may be caused by medical reasons, or in some cases, lifestyle habits, such as smoking, alcohol use or dehydration. More serious causes of urinary incontinence may include:

  • Urinary tract infections, which may irritate your bladder causing strong urges to urinate.
  • Painful bladder syndrome (interstitial cystitis), a chronic medical condition that often causes symptoms of painful and frequent urination, as well as urinary incontinence.
  • Bladder cancer or bladder stones may cause incontinence, urinary urgency and burning during urination.
  • Neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, brain tumors or spinal injury may in some cases affect bladder control, causing urinary incontinence.
  • A tumor located anywhere along the urinary tract may also cause an obstruction that can block the normal flow of urine and affect bladder control.

Certain factors are known to increase your risk of developing bladder control issues and urinary incontinence including the following:

  • Obesity
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause or other hormonal changes
  • Smoking
  • Weakening muscles due to age
  • Injury of muscle tissue

Tests to Diagnose Bladder Control Issues

If you suffer from occasional leaking or frequent accidents and suspect that you have bladder control issues, our team of specialists at the Crescent Women’s Medical Group can help you find a solution.

Our friendly staff will first conduct a complete medical history to determine the frequency, duration, and severity of your symptoms, and to determine the cause of your issues and discuss your best treatment options.

The common tests and procedures used to diagnose urinary incontinence include:

  • Keeping an accurate bladder diary noting how much and how often you drink liquids, how often you urinate, the amount of urine you produce, whether or not you had a sudden uncontrollable urge to urinate, whether you were able to fully empty your bladder, and the number of episodes of urine leaking or accidents.
  • Urinalysis is used to test your urine for infection, traces of blood or other abnormalities.
  • Blood tests are administered to check for chemicals and substances related to causes of incontinence.

Additional specialized tests may be required to obtain more information, including:

  • Post-void residual (PVR) measurement to determine the amount of urine that remains in the bladder after you urinate. Abnormal amounts of leftover urine in your bladder may indicate an obstruction in the urinary tract or a problem with the nerves or muscles associated with the bladder.
  • Pelvic ultrasound to detect possible structural abnormalities.
  • Stress test, in which you may be asked to cough or bear down as your doctor watches for urine leakage.
  • Urodynamic testing to measure the pressure in your bladder when it is at rest, as well as when it’s filling in order to determine the strength of your bladder muscles and urinary sphincter.
  • Cystogram, an X-ray of your bladder using a special dye to show the flow of urine using a series of diagnostic images.
  • Cystoscopy in a procedure in which a thin tube with a tiny lens is inserted into the urethra to detect abnormalities in the urinary tract.

Treatments and Procedures to Solve Urinary Incontinence or Bladder Control Issues

For many patients, a combination of medical treatment and lifestyle modifications can relieve your bladder control issues and may prevent urinary incontinence. Treatment depends on the cause and type of incontinence and the severity of your problem.

A combination of treatments may be indicated, including any of the following:

  • Bladder training to train your body to control your bladder muscles.
  • Pelvic floor muscle exercises, or Kegel exercises, to regain control over the sphincter and the muscles you use to stop the flow of urine.
  • Medications to calm overactive bladder muscles.
  • Medical devices, such as a urethral insert, which acts as a plug to prevent leakage, or a pessary, which is a stiff ring inserted into the vagina to support the bladder in its proper position.

When less invasive treatments prove ineffective, a surgical procedure may be indicated, including:

  • Sling procedures which use either strips of your body’s own tissue, synthetic material or mesh to create a pelvic sling or hammock to keep the urethra closed, particularly when you cough or sneeze.
  • Bladder neck suspension to support the urethra and neck of the bladder, the area of thickened muscle where the bladder connects to the urethra.
  • An artificial urinary sphincter implanted around the neck of the bladder, which the patient can control by pressing a valve located beneath the skin.

If you live in and around Cincinnati, Blue Ash or the surrounding communities of Ohio and think you have bladder control issues, such as urinary incontinence, contact the Crescent Women’s Medical Group to schedule an appointment.