Female Urinary Incontinence

Diagnosis & Treatment

Incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine. There are 2 main types of incontinence, and most women have both forms of leakage (known as mixed incontinence).

  • Stress Incontinence (SUI) – urine leakage associated with lifting, coughing, sneezing, laughing
  • Urge Incontinence (UUI) – urine leakage associated with urgency; “gotta go” leakage

Risk factors:

  • Overactive bladder (OAB) – main cause of urgency leakage; see OAB section
  • Female gender
  • Childbirth
  • Chronic coughing (COPD, asthma, chronic bronchitis)
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

The first step is to schedule an appointment with Urology Specialists of Oregon. Your first visit will involve a history and physical exam, with a review of your current bladder habits. We will see if you are emptying the bladder, if you can demonstrate leakage of urine (cough and strain), and see if you can perform a Kegel exercise. If you have had prior surgery for incontinence, it is important to discuss this and review prior surgery notes (if possible).

For most women, initial treatment will be based on the evaluation from your first visit. However, there are some of patients who may require more testing based on their symptoms or examination. Radiological studies (X-ray/CT scans), urodynamics (bladder testing studies) or cystoscopy (looking inside the bladder) may be necessary.

Other Types of Female Urinary Incontinence

Treatment Options for Stress Incontinence (SUI) in Bend, OR:

  • Kegels (pelvic floor exercises)
    • These exercises can help many women with incontinence but only if they are done correctly and routinely. We offer guidance with biofeedback and/or pelvic floor physical therapy as a first line form of combating incontinence.
  • Mid-urethral sling placement
    • This is the gold standard surgical treatment for SUI. A sling works by re-creating the natural “hammock” or support underneath the urethra. When abdominal pressure increases, as with coughing, sneezing, or athletic activity, the sling provides support to keep the urethra closed thereby preventing loss of urine.
  • Urethral bulking
    • Urethral bulking agents add resistance to the urethra and prevent leakage of urine in women who have a weakened bladder outlet/opening.

Our physicians will work with you to determine the treatment option that best fits your needs, allowing you to return to the comfortable and active life style you have always enjoyed. To schedule an appointment, call Urology Specialists of Oregon at (541) 322-5753.