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Female Bladder Incontinence

The differences between the male and female urinary tracts lead to special conditions and problems that occur more often in women.

Women are twice as likely as men to experience urinary incontinence due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and the structure of the female urinary tract. Older women experience urinary incontinence more often than younger women.1

Gwinnett Medical Center-affiliated physicians have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating a variety of women's urological conditions including urethral diverticulum, pelvic floor prolapse and pelvic floor disorders. We offer a variety of non-operative therapies and minimally invasive procedures to treat vaginal prolapse, urinary incontinence, neurogenic and overactive bladder. We understand that many women feel uncomfortable discussing these conditions, and we do our best to create a relaxed and stress-free atmosphere for our patients.

Non-surgical Treatment Options

  • Behavioral Techniques—Lifestyle changes, fluid and diet modification, bladder retraining, Kegel exercises and/or other kinds of physical therapy can improve bladder function.
  • Oral Medications—Some medications help target the muscles associated with bladder function. However, these drugs may cause side effects such as dry mouth, constipation, eye problems or urine buildup, which in some cases cannot be tolerated.
  • Urodynamics Test—Urodynamics is the investigation of how the lower urinary tract functions with regard to bladder filling, storage and emptying. It measures bladder pressures, volumes and flows in order to find the best treatment.

Surgical Treatment Options

  • Collagen Injections—The injection of material into the urethra can help control urine leakage (urinary incontinence) caused by a weak urinary sphincter. The sphincter is a muscle that allows your body to hold the urine in the bladder. When it stops working well, urine leakage results.
  • Neuromodulation Therapy (InterStim®)
  • Retropubic Suspension—Using surgical threads called sutures to support the bladder neck, the most common retropubic suspension procedure is called the Burch procedure. In this operation, the surgeon makes an incision in the abdomen a few inches below the navel and then secures the threads to strong ligaments within the pelvis to support the urethral sphincter. This common procedure is often done at the time of an abdominal procedure such as a hysterectomy.
  • Slings—Performed through a vaginal incision, the traditional sling procedure uses a strip of your own tissue called fascia to cradle the bladder neck. Some slings consist of natural tissue, others of man-made material. The surgeon attaches both ends of the sling to the pubic bone or ties them in front of the abdomen just above the pubic bone.

For more information about our incontinence care program, call our health navigator: 470-325-6947.
If you're experiencing a medical emergency, dial 911.

1 ‘Urinary Incontinence in Women.’ National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Web site. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/uiwomen/ Accessed on November 25, 2012.