Are you tired of feeling like you don't quite have control over your bladder? Maybe you experience a little leakage when you laugh or when you cough. Perhaps you've taken to wearing Depends or absorbent underwear to avoid embarrassing situations. It's important to understand that you're not alone, and that your condition is nothing to be ashamed of. Many women experience a loss of bladder control as they age, especially if they have given birth to multiple children. Here are some treatments your doctor might recommend.
Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery
The term "pelvic reconstructive surgery" may sound intimidating, but this is really a broad term that refers to any procedure in which the muscles, ligaments, and tendons within your pelvic area are tightened up or re-positioned. Your doctor will need to examine you to determine the exact contributing factors to your incontinence. For instance, your bladder may be bulging into your vagina, or your uterus may be pushing on your bladder. Once the exact physical abnormality is identified, your doctor can devise a specific surgical strategy to repair it.
Pelvic reconstructions surgeries have a high success rate, and you should be fully healed within six months.The results are typically permanent, so you won't have to worry about incontinence any longer.
If you are not a candidate for surgery, your doctor may recommend medications to help control your bladder instead. Common choices include oxybutrin and tolterodine. These medications work by interfering with the nerve signals that trigger your bladder to contract. So, you'll be less likely to feel your bladder start to empty when you did not consciously attempt to urinate. The medications will only have limited effectiveness if your loss of bladder control is due to a physical deformity like a prolapsed bladder, but they do work well for women whose issues are due to a general loss of muscle tone in the bladder and abdomen. Side effects are generally mild and include headaches and cold-like symptoms.
You can use this treatment strategy in combination with medications or as you're awaiting surgery. And you can start without even consulting a doctor. Kegels are just execises in which you contract your pelvic floor muscles. They help strengthen these muscles, which will give you more control over your bladder. To do a kegel, simply contract the muscles you'd use to stop the flow of urine. Hold this contraction for 5 seconds, and then release. Repeat this four or five times in a row. Over time, build up to the point that you're able to hold the contraction for 10 seconds at a time. Do about three sets each day for best results.