“Urinary incontinence” is a general term. There are several types of incontinence:
- Stress incontinence—In this type women leak urine with a physical activity or stressor. Stress incontinence can be caused by a weakening or damage to the muscle that controls the flow of urine out of the urethra or when the support tissues surrounding the urethra are loosened or stretched from pregnancy, aging or childbirth. Surgical treatments are most successful and provide relief for the majority of women. Urethral slings are performed through the vagina on an outpatient basis. Stress incontinence is the most common type in younger women.
- Urge incontinence—Often described as a sudden strong urge to urinate followed by leakage of urine before a woman can get to the bathroom. This type sometimes is also called overactive bladder. It occurs if the muscles of the bladder are too active and contract too often. It also can be caused by problems with the nerves that send signals to the bladder. This form of incontinence is best treated with bladder drills and medications.
- Mixed incontinence—A woman has symptoms of both stress and urge incontinence. This combination may cause more urine to leak than either type alone would.
- Overflow incontinence—A woman has steady leaks of small amounts of urine. This type occurs when the bladder does not empty all the way during voiding. The bladder muscle may not be active enough, or the urethra may be blocked. We do not treat this type of incontinence at Obstetrics and Gynecology of Atlanta and if urodynamics testing indicates that this is your issue we will refer you to a urologist who may in turn require that you see a neurologist.
In our office, if your diagnosis is obvious we will proceed with a course of treatment. If not, urodynamics testing will be scheduled first so that we can treat you based on the findings and your specific needs.