Alaska Urological Institute

Bladder Control

If you or someone you know is affected by loss of bladder control, you are not alone. Urinary incontinence affects 30 to 50% of women. Although it becomes more common in older women, urinary incontinence is not considered “normal” at any age.

Many women who have bladder control problems are reluctant to discuss them with anyone. Sometimes women are made to feel that the condition is a normal part of aging and that, since a bladder control problem is rarely life-threatening, it is not really a problem.

The truth of the matter is that urinary incontinence can have a significant impact. We know that it can undermine your sense of well-being and self-worth, and your ability to live your life the way you want. There is no reason to allow this to continue. The good news is that 80 to 90% of women who seek treatment will experience significant improvement. A wide array of treatment options, ranging from behavioral and diet changes to surgical options exist and are used every day to help women recover parts of their lives they may have let go. Come in to be evaluated and to discuss treatment options appropriate for your urinary incontinence.

Are there different types of urinary incontinence?

Female urinary incontinence can be grouped in several distinct categories, although women often have symptoms found in more than one category (i.e., mixed incontinence).

  • Stress incontinence: Sudden urine leakage occurs with increases in abdominal pressure (coughing, laughing, sneezing, lifting a heavy object).
  • Urge incontinence: Often referred to as “overactive bladder.” Inability to hold urine long enough to reach restroom. Women often describe a sudden urge to urinate followed immediately by leaking. Some leak on the way to the bathroom or while they are taking off their pants.
  • Mixed incontinence: When two or more causes contribute to urinary incontinence. Often refers to the presence of both stress and urge incontinence. Often, a woman may first experience one kind of leaking and find that the other begins to occur later.
  • Overflow incontinence: Leakage or “spill-over” of urine when the quantity of urine exceeds the bladder’s capacity to hold it. This generally happens when there is some blockage or obstruction to the bladder’s emptying; the bladder is unable to empty well, and small amounts of leakage happen frequently.
  • Functional incontinence: Leakage due to factors that interfere with the ability to reach the restroom in time because of physical conditions (e.g., arthritis or using a walker). This may or may not represent a problem of the pelvic floor, but should certainly be addressed with a health care provider.

What treatment options are available for urinary incontinence?

For urinary incontinence, the correct diagnosis is essential. Our team is specially trained in state-of-the-art techniques for identifying the underlying cause of your symptoms. Depending on the type(s) of incontinence, we can offer you the broadest range of treatment options. Some treatment options include behavioral modification therapy, nerve stimulators, bladder Botox, or surgical options. If surgery is an option for your type of incontinence, we may be able to offer minimally invasive, same-day procedures. We will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan based on your specific needs.