Women’s Services

Restoring Continence and Confidence

Embarrassing But Not Uncommon

Perhaps it happens when you cough, hear running water or exercise. You involuntarily leak urine. You feel embarrassed, even humiliated. So humiliated you don't tell anyone-not even your physician.

Urinary incontinence can profoundly affect your physical and emotional well-being. Some incontinent women develop frequent urinary tract infections and painful irritations. Many don't leave their homes because they fear leaking in public.

If you have urinary incontinence, you're not alone. More than 10 million Americans struggle with the condition. Many rely on bulky, uncomfortable pads, but those should be a last resort. Many women live with incontinence because they think it's a normal part of aging. Others fear surgery. The truth is, 60 percent to 75 percent of women who suffer from incontinence benefit from noninvasive treatments such as behavior modification, dietary changes, muscle exercises, or medication.

If those techniques don't work for you, and your symptoms affect the quality of your life, the physician might suggest more aggressive options, such as surgery.

Several physicians at Lake Health are specially trained to perform the latest surgical procedure to treat stress incontinence. Tension-free vaginal tape (TVT) is a minimally invasive procedure that takes just 30 minutes and requires only local or regional anesthetic. Patients usually return home the same day and recover in about two weeks versus four to six weeks for traditional incontinence surgery. The procedure is 90% successful.

You don't have to live with urinary incontinence, but you do have to take the first step to help resolve the problem. For a referral to a physician who is specially trained to treat incontinence and performs TVT, call the Best of Health Line at 1-800-454-9800 or 440-953-6000.

Types of Incontinence

There are three types of urinary incontinence:

  • Urge incontinence is when the detrusor muscle (the muscle wall of your bladder) is overactive, leading to a leakage of urine anytime your bladder is full.
  • Stress incontinence occurs when pressure inside your bladder (the organ which moves urine out of your body) is greater than the pressure in your urethra (the organ you contract to "hold-in" your urine). This type causes involuntary loss of urine when you cough, laugh, sneeze or exercise. The most common cause of stress incontinence is a weakening of the tissues that surround and support the urethra and bladder.
  • Overflow incontinence is when your bladder fails to empty completely when you void. This results in a steady leakage of small amounts of urine. Overflow incontinence is less common than urge incontinence and is due to the detrusor muscle being underactive.

Take This Quick Quiz

Do You:

  1. Leak urine when you laugh, cough, sneeze, or exercise?
  2. Often have such a strong urge to urinate that you leak before reaching the restroom?
  3. Wear pads to protect against leakage?
  4. Leak urine even though you’ve had surgery to correct urinary incontinence?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you might benefit from a consultation with a physician trained to treat incontinence. Call the Best of Health Line at 1-800-454-9800 or 440-953-6000.