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Urinary Incontinence

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Urinary incontinence is a common problem that disrupts the lives of twice as many women as men, but gynecologists Stephanie Carmichael, MD, and Andrea Johnson, MD, can help. They treat urinary incontinence at Total Women’s Health & Wellness Center in Decatur and Lithonia, Georgia. If loss of bladder control causes embarrassment or other issues in your daily life, call or book an appointment online today.

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Urinary Incontinence Q & A


What is urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence happens when you leak urine accidentally. Two main types of urinary incontinence affect women:

Stress incontinence

Stress incontinence is the most common type. This happens when stress or pressure on your bladder causes urine to leak. When you have stress incontinence, everyday actions such as laughing, coughing, or sneezing can cause urine leakage.

Urge incontinence

Urge incontinence involves a sudden, intense need to urinate that can result in an involuntary loss of urine if you can’t reach a bathroom in time. This condition is sometimes called an “overactive bladder” because it usually causes you to urinate more frequently, even throughout the night.

Many women experience symptoms of both stress and urge incontinence. This is referred to as mixed incontinence.


What causes urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence occurs when the muscles and nerves that help your bladder hold or release urine become weakened or damaged. Problems with these nerves and muscles occur during health events that are unique to women, such as pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause.

Other conditions that can cause problems with the muscles and nerves of your urinary tract include:

  • Surgery on your reproductive organs, such as a hysterectomy

  • Nerve damage from childbirth or a disease such as diabetes

  • Being overweight or obese

Sometimes, women experience short-term urinary incontinence from easily treatable conditions, such as a urinary tract infection or taking medications that act as diuretics. Drinking too many caffeinated beverages can also lead to short-term incontinence.


How is urinary incontinence diagnosed and treated?

First, Dr. Carmichael or Dr. Johnson carefully reviews your symptoms and medical history and performs a physical and pelvic exam. They can also do diagnostic tests, including:

  • A urine test

  • An ultrasound

  • A urodynamics test

A urodynamics test involves filling your bladder with water through a thin tube to measure its pressure and holding capacity.

Then they recommend the best treatment for your condition. This can include:

  • Lifestyle changes such as weight loss

  • Strengthening your pelvic muscles with Kegel exercises

  • Medication to treat an infection

  • Hormone replacement therapy

If your symptoms persist despite treatment, Dr. Carmichael or Dr. Johnson can recommend surgery.

Urinary incontinence is not an inevitable part of growing older. To find relief, call Total Women’s Health & Wellness Center or book an appointment online today.

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