Mixed incontinence is one of the most common forms of urinary incontinence that women face. It is a combination of urge incontinence and stress incontinence. Left untreated, the symptoms of this disorder can greatly disrupt a person’s everyday life.
Mixed Incontinence Symptoms
In many cases, symptoms are indicative of stress incontinence. The most common issues related to this issue include:
- Exercising or doing heavy lifting. The impact and movement of exercising can result in leakage.
- Laughing. When a person laughs, their muscles are contracting and their position may shift, causing likelier conditions for loss of bladder control.
- Sneezing. Sneezing causes a sudden and forceful movement and muscles contractions that may cause urine leakage.
- Sexual Intercourse. Pressure can be placed on the body, including the bladder, during the act of sexual intercourse.
When a patient exhibits symptoms of urge incontinence, they may experience the following symptoms:
- A Sudden Urge to Urinate. Even if a person hasn’t had anything to drink recently, there may be a sudden and extremely urgent feeling of having to urinate.
- Frequent Urination. If a patient has to visit the restroom to urinate more than eight times in a day, on a consistent basis, this is considered frequent urination. Only a small amount, or even no urine at all, may be released when going to the bathroom during some trips.
- Disrupted Sleep. Sufferers may wake up more than two times during the night feeling the need to visit the restroom.
Causes of Mixed Incontinence
The causes of stress and urge incontinence are shared in those who have mixed incontinence.
Typically, stress incontinence results from childbirth, pregnancy, and medical conditions that can lead to weakened bladder muscles.
In instances of urge incontinence, there may have been damage to the nerves of the bladder, other areas of the nervous system, or damage caused by a previous surgery.
Testing for Mixed Incontinence
During the initial visit, the doctor will discuss your symptoms. How often do you have to go? How often does the loss of bladder control occur? What situations are causing urine leakage? In order to help diagnose the issue, the doctor may perform one, or a combination of, the following diagnostic tests/
- Urine Test. A urine test will help the doctor rule out whether a urinary tract infection is causing symptoms.
- Neurological exam. The doctor will be able to determine if symptoms may be caused by dysfunction in the nerves.
- Urine Volume Test. After urinating, the doctor will determine the amount of urine that is left in the bladder.
- Bladder Examination. The doctor will use a small camera to examine the bladder, and urethra to check for potential structural issues in these areas.
Mixed Incontinence Treatment
Non-surgical methods will be used first. This may include pelvic muscle exercises and bladder training. When these techniques fail to alleviate symptoms, other treatment options may be used.
Several types of medications can be used to help calm overactive bladder muscles. In addition, injections of Botox into the bladder can reduce the frequent urges that a patient feels.
When cases are more severe and can’t be cured with medication or behavioral therapy, devices may be necessary.
- Pessary. A ring is placed on each side of the urethra that helps support the bladder. This can aid women who are having issues with muscle weakness in the pelvic area.
- Urethral Inserts. A disposable device is worn at various times throughout the day to act as a barrier against leakage, especially when the patient plans to be active and will be moving frequently.
- Pelvic Floor Electrostimulation. Electrical currents into the muscles of the pelvic floor which can cause muscles to contract, resulting in the improved closure of the urethra.
Surgery intervention to treat mixed incontinence is reserved for severe cases where behavioral therapy, medication, and devices can’t help alleviate symptoms. Consulting with a specialist will allow you to make the decision that is right for you and your unique needs.
To make an appointment, please call Urology Specialists of Oregon at (541) 322-5753.