Urinary incontinence is defined by the leakage of or the inability to hold urine. There are several reasons why a woman can be incontinent but the two most common forms of incontinence are Stress Incontinence and Urgency Incontinence.
Urinary Stress Incontinence is characterized by loss or leakage of urine in situations that increase the intra-abdominal pressure such as sneezing or coughing, weight lifting, laughing, running, etc.The mechanisms of the condition are the same as for Genital Prolapse, i.e., changes in the anatomy due to damage to pelvic floor muscles and connective tissue. There is an increase of mobility at the base of the bladder and at the area where the urethra leaves the bladder making it difficult to hold urine when the bladder is full.
Treatment is mostly surgical and there are several relatively simple options done as day procedures to fix the problem.
Urgency or Urge Incontinence means a sudden urge to urinate with little control of the bladder resulting in leakage. Also known as overactive bladder or detrusor muscle instability, it happens following uncontrolled contractions of the muscle around the bladder. The treatment is done with medication that relaxes the bladder muscle and surgery does not help.
Sometimes both types of incontinence are present. It is also common to find an association between Stress Incontinence and Prolapse, since both share common causes.
The surgical treatment for Stress Incontinence has changed significantly over the last 10 years thanks to a range of new procedures recently made available. Please refer to the Minimally Invasive Surgery page for more details.