Urinary Incontinence

You’re not alone if you have urinary incontinence — it’s estimated that nearly half of all women experience incontinence. Dr. Anna Le and the team at Annandale Ob-Gyn perform urodynamic testing to determine the cause of your urinary incontinence, then develop a personalized treatment plan. Please don’t continue to suffer with urinary incontinence. Call one of the offices in Annandale or Alexandria, Virginia, or book an appointment online.

What are the different types of urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence – the accidental loss of urine — can be mild or severe depending on the type of incontinence. Some common types that affect women are:

  • Stress incontinence – Urine leaks when pressure is placed on your bladder. This often happens when you cough, laugh, sneeze, or lift a heavy object.
  • Urge incontinence – Also known as overactive bladder, this type of incontinence causes a frequent need to urinate that’s so strong, it’s often hard to get to the bathroom on time.

What causes urinary incontinence?

You can develop a temporary case of urinary incontinence from foods, beverages, and medications that irritate your bladder. In some cases, incontinence is caused by a condition that’s easy to treat, like a urinary tract infection.

If your urinary incontinence persists, it’s usually caused by one of the following:

  • Weak pelvic floor muscles – Pelvic floor muscles support your bladder and pelvic organs. When the muscles weaken, your ability to control the flow of urine can be impaired. Weak pelvic floor muscles are often caused by aging, being overweight, childbirth, or radiation therapy for cancer.
  • Menopause – Tissues in the bladder and urethra weaken due to loss of estrogen at menopause.
  • Hysterectomy – Your uterus is supported by the same pelvic floor muscles as your bladder. When the uterus is removed (hysterectomy), the muscles may be affected.
  • Obstruction – A tumor or bladder stones may lead to overflow incontinence.

How is urinary incontinence treated?

Your doctor at Annandale Ob-Gyn & Primary Care performs urodynamic tests to determine the exact cause of your urinary incontinence. Urodynamic studies evaluate whether your bladder can fill properly or empty completely. Specialized tests also measure the consistency and pressure of your urine stream and whether it’s easy to start and stop urinating.

Treatment is customized to address the underlying cause of incontinence and meet your health needs. Your treatment plan may include one or more of the following:

  • Exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles
  • Bladder training
  • Medications
  • Collagen or Botox injections
  • Urethral insert or pessary
  • Minimally-invasive procedures to support the urethra and repair pelvic floor muscles