Urinary Incontinence Program
Urinary incontinence, or loss of bladder control, is a common problem affecting up to 30 percent of adults over the age of 65. Yet evidence suggests that as many as 50 percent of those who have symptoms don’t report the problem to their doctor. The likely reasons are embarrassment and the misconception that urinary incontinence is an inevitable part of aging. Old age doesn’t cause urinary incontinence.
Why do I have this and what can I do?
There are different causes and different kinds of urinary incontinence. That’s why it is important to have a physical exam. Your doctor can help diagnose your condition and recommend appropriate treatment. Despite the prevalence of this problem, people with urinary incontinence often suffer in secret. They often limit their lifestyles, risking social isolation and depression. With treatment, urinary incontinence often can be controlled or cured.
Simplified treatment plans
Pacific Medical Centers offers a coordinated interdisciplinary program that includes primary care physicians, gynecologists, physical therapists and urologists specially trained in diagnosis and in medical and surgical treatments for managing urinary incontinence. So you don’t have to arrange for specialists on your own.
Primary care doctors
Visiting a primary care provider is a good starting point. Your provider may ask questions about when leakage occurs and whether activities like coughing or getting up from a sitting position trigger urinary incontinence episodes. Understanding these patterns can help in deciding which steps to take in developing a plan for further treatment. Tests on the urine and bladder and an evaluation by a urologist, gynecologist, or other healthcare provider specializing in urinary incontinence may be the next step.
Our gynecology department will take time to fully understand your personal situation so as to coordinate a plan of treatment just for you. Some causes of female urinary incontinence may be improved with diet and exercise, while others may require medication or surgery. Newer surgical developments in the treatment of female incontinence now allow for minimally invasive, out-patient procedures that allow you to begin your new life faster. And, best of all, treatment with our gynecology department may begin right away, without a primary care referral!
The urologist can evaluate your bladder with various diagnostic tools to identify the reason(s) for the incontinence, which may have a neurological, inflammatory, or obstructive/structural cause. Some cases can be treated using medications, behavior modification, and coordination with other specialists, such as physical therapy. Your urologist will also know when surgical procedures are needed to correct urinary incontinence problems.
Physical therapists help treat urinary incontinence by evaluating and working with the muscles of the pelvic floor. They will work closely with your medical provider. Treatment may include biofeedback and/or electrical stimulation, ultrasound, palpation, heat, cold, as well as stretching and strengthening exercises. Patient education and participation are integral aspects of our physical therapy, and we work with each patient to develop an individual program tailored to his or her needs.