Urinary incontinence or bladder incontinence is a health condition in which you accidentally leak urine.

The leakage may range from being a mild condition to uncontrollable wetting.  There are two types of incontinence:

Stress incontinence:  This occurs when pressure is placed on the bladder.  It may happen when you cough, laugh, sneeze or lift a heavy object.

Urge incontinence:  you may have heard this called overactive bladder.  This occurs when you have a strong urge to go to the bathroom, even when there is little urine in your bladder.

As we age our pelvic floor muscles weaken and may contribute to incontinence.  The following conditions may cause incontinence:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Menopause
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Medications such as high blood pressure, muscle relaxants and sedatives

Your diet may even aggravate urinary incontinence.  This is very individualized for each person.

Women with incontinence often hesitate to talk about it.  At OBGYN Associates of Des Moines, all of our doctors help patients with incontinence and we are lucky to have a urogynecologist on staff who specializes in treating the underlying causes.  When treatment plans are developed for your type of incontinence, lifestyle and medical options will be considered.

Several types of surgeries may also be options for urinary and fecal incontinence.  These interventions will be presented and discussed by your physician.