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Female urinary incontinence

‘The loss of bladder control including the occasional leak when you laugh, cough,
sneeze or exercise, through to the complete inability to control your bladder.’

Most female urinary incontinence can be treated.

Urinary incontinence is common in women, and happens as a result of issues with the muscles and nerves that help the bladder control urine. Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and surgery can lead to the condition, however nerve damage, constipation and weight can also trigger the problem. The good thing to know is that it’s not a normal part of aging. In many cases urinary incontinence can be treated, better managed and even cured.

Female urinary incontinence treatment

There are two kinds of female urinary incontinence, stress and urge incontinence, and depending on which kind you may have a variety of treatments are available.

  • Lifestyle changes

    Including losing weight and bladder retraining.

  • Physiotherapy

    For example, engaging in pelvic floor physiotherapy with a trained therapist.

  • Continence pessaries

    A flexible silicone ring that you insert into your vagina help support the urethra, to prevent urine leakage.

  • Medication

    Anticholinergics can help to calm an overactive bladder. Mirabegron (Betmiga) relaxes the bladder muscle; can increase the amount of urine your bladder can hold and is often used for urge incontinence. Topical estrogen can help tone and rejuvenate tissues in the urethra and vaginal areas, and help alleviate the situation.

  • Surgery

    Depending on the situation, a range of surgeries may be helpful. With stress incontinence, a pelvic sling underneath your urethra can help to keep the urethra closed when you cough or sneeze. A bladder neck suspension will provide support to your urethra and bladder neck, an area of thickened muscle where the bladder connects to the urethra. If you have a pelvic organ prolapse as well as incontinence, the answer may be a combination of a sling procedure and prolapse surgery. Finally, an artificial urinary sphincter can be implanted round the bladder, allowing you to control the bladder by pressing a valve under your skin.