You deserve to enjoy your life and participate in all of the activities you so desire. Unfortunately, conditions such as incontinence can put a damper on your ability to do this. The good news is that incontinence can be managed and treated. Do not feel ashamed or embarrassed to speak openly with the medical professionals at Carolina OB/GYN in Rock Hill, SC, about what you are experiencing. We specialize in incontinence issues of all kinds. Once we understand your symptoms and concerns, we can work towards developing an effective treatment plan so you can continue living your life to the fullest.
What is Incontinence?
Incontinence is a condition that inhibits our ability to control when we go to the bathroom. There are two categories of incontinence: urinary and fecal. These can occur individually or simultaneously. It is important to note that incontinence in and of itself is not a disease. Instead, it is a symptom caused by lifestyle habits, a physical disorder, or an underlying medical condition.
Incontinence manifests in different ways depending on the underlying cause. There are different types of urinary incontinence that include:
- Stress Incontinence – Pressure on the bladder causes urine leakage. This could be from lifting something heavy, laughing, or sneezing.
- Urge Incontinence – The sudden feeling of the need to urinate followed by an uncontrolled loss of urine.
- Overflow Incontinence – The bladder does not empty completely, leading to a recurrent or persistent dribbling of urine.
- Functional Incontinence – Physical or mental impairment that prevents you from making it to the toilet on time.
- Mixed Incontinence – More than one kind of incontinence is experienced.
Causes for Urinary Incontinence
Some instances of urinary incontinence are temporary. For example, drinking a lot of caffeine can cause this symptom. A urinary tract infection can also cause incontinence. There are other manifestations of urinary incontinence that are persistent. These include:
- Pregnancy – Pressure on the bladder due to the growing baby along with hormonal changes can cause incontinence.
- Childbirth – After delivering a baby vaginally, the muscles may become weakened causing prolapse to occur.
- Aging – The muscles in the bladder deteriorate with age and can affect the bladder’s ability to store urine. Involuntary bladder contractions occur more frequently with age as well.
- Menopause – Less estrogen is produced during and after menopause. This hormone keeps the lining of the bladder and urethra healthy, so a decrease of estrogen can lead to incontinence.
- Hysterectomy – It is possible that surgery to remove the uterus may impact the pelvic floor muscles.
- Obstruction – The presence of a tumor or urinary stones are possible sources of obstruction that interfere with the regular flow of urine.
This is characterized as the inability to control bowel movements. It can be temporary, often accompanying diarrhea, but it can also be chronic and recurring. When this happens, the medical professionals at Carolina OB/GYN are here to help. There are two ways this condition can occur:
- Urge Incontinence – The sudden feeling of the need to defecate, usually without enough time to make it to the toilet.
- Passive Incontinence – Being unaware of the need to defecate.
Causes of Fecal Incontinence
Simply being a woman is a risk factor for developing fecal incontinence. This is largely due to the physical demand caused by carrying and delivering children. More specific causes include:
- Menopause – Hormone replacement therapy can increase the risk of fecal incontinence
- Nerve Damage – this could be caused by childbirth, as well as other conditions that cause injury to the nerves in that area.
- Hemorrhoids – The presence of swollen veins in the rectum that prevent the anus from closing completely.
- Rectal Prolapse – This is often caused by multiple births and vaginal delivery. It is when the rectum drops down into the anus which causes fecal incontinence.
- Rectocele – When the rectum pushes through the vagina due to a weakening in the wall that separates them.
Schedule an Appointment
As you can see, there are several different ways and reasons incontinence occurs. First, we will determine the cause of your urinary or fecal incontinence, then assess the next steps so we can develop a plan of treatment. There is hope for a more comfortable future. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.