Incontinence & Overactive Bladder 

Overview

Have you ever laughed so hard that you “leaked”? Bladder leakage happens to many people occasionally, but when it becomes more common, it can be a sign of a bigger issue. Frequent urination, loss of bladder control or sudden, extreme urges to go to the bathroom could point to urinary incontinence or overactive bladder (OAB).

Overactive bladder may be caused by the following:

  • Select neurological disorders
  • High fluid intake
  • Certain medications
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Poor kidney function

Female incontinence may be caused by the following:

  • Childbirth or pregnancy
  • Certain foods or beverages
  • Age
  • Menopause
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Tumors or obstruction

In addition to urinary incontinence, Aurora Health Care also treats patients suffering from fecal incontinence, or bowel incontinence characterized by the uncontrolled release of gas or stool.

No matter which type of incontinence issues you’re facing, our urogynecology doctors offer a variety of overactive bladder and incontinence treatments to help stop the leaks and help you feel comfortable again.

Symptoms

Urinary Incontinence

There are several types of incontinence, each with their own unique set of symptoms:

  • Stress incontinence is triggered by coughing, sneezing, laughing, bending or lifting, and causes urine leakage.
  • Urge incontinence is characterized by increased urinary urgency, an uncontrollable flow of urine, and increased urinary frequency.
  • Overflow incontinence means extremely frequent urination and an inability to completely empty the bladder.
  • Mixed incontinence is a combination of the symptoms described above.

Fecal Incontinence

The two main types of fecal incontinence are caused by anal sphincter injuries and rectovaginal fistulas. Both conditions are usually the result of vaginal delivery. Obstretical anal sphincter injury (OASIS) - the most common cause of fecal incontinence in women - usually results from trauma to the anal sphincter during natural childbirth. Alternately, rectovaginal fistulas occur as a result of injury during childbirth, when an abnormal connection is introduced between a woman’s rectum and vagina causing stool leakage to occur.

Diagnosis

Urinary incontinence can be diagnosed by performing urodynamic testing (urodynamics) to assess how well the bladder and urethra are storing and releasing urine.

Urodynamic testing involves a series of tests that reproduce bladder and voiding capabilities, evaluate the function of your bladder and urethra, and accurately identify and diagnose underlying bladder problems.

Other diagnostic OAB or incontinence testing may include:

  • Cystoscopy, where a scope is used to look inside your bladder
  • Radiology/imaging scans
  • Endoscopic procedures of the bladder or bowel

Services & Treatment

There’s no single incontinence or overactive bladder treatment that works for everyone. That’s why Aurora Health Care offers medical and surgical treatment options tailored to meet your unique needs. 

From pelvic floor rehabilitation and medical management to state-of-the-art urogynecologic surgery, we help you regain health, confidence, comfort and quality of life. 

Nonsurgical treatment for urinary incontinence and urinary urgency include:

  • InterStim therapy to stimulate the sacral nerves with mild electrical impulses. These nerves control the bladder and muscles that work during urination. InterStim therapy can immediately reduce symptoms of overactive bladder and urinary retention.
  • Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (Urgent PC) , which sends stimulation through your tibial nerve. A pulse generator then sends an electrical pulse to the sacral nerves at the bottom of your spine. These nerves help to control bladder function, and stimulating these nerves can reduce overactive bladder.

Surgery may be a choice if other incontinence treatments aren’t effective. 

  • Laparoscopic, or minimally invasive surgery, begins with small incisions in your abdomen. The surgeon performs the procedure while viewing the surgery on a video monitor after a very small video camera and surgical instruments have been inserted through the incisions. Small incisions mean faster healing time and smaller scars for you.   
  • Robotic surgery combines laparoscopic techniques with robotic arms. Operating through the small incisions, the surgeon’s hand movements are mimicked by small robotic fingers, allowing for precise work in small spaces.
  • Sacral nerve stimulation requires a neurotransmitter device to be placed under your skin. The device gives mild electrical pulses to stimulate the nerve that controls the bladder and surrounding muscles.
  • Sling procedures are typically used to treat stress incontinence – the most common form of urinary incontinence. The sling restores and supports the correct anatomical positioning of pelvic organs. 
  • Urethral bulking injections of collagen or other synthetic materials are injected around the tube that lets urine out of your bladder (the urethra). This procedure seals the tube more tightly to prevent urine from leaking.
  • Vaginal surgery, similar to laparoscopy, uses small incisions in the vagina to perform urogynecologic procedures to treat incontinence.
  • Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery
  • Pelvic Reconstruction Surgery

For fecal incontinence, pelvic floor rehabilitation - including pelvic floor exercises - can be an effective treatment option and may prevent the need for surgery.

Locations

Aurora Health Care offers overactive bladder (OAB) and incontinence treatment in Milwaukee, Green Bay, and throughout eastern Wisconsin. Call the location nearest you to set up an appointment today:


Women's Center at Aurora BayCare Medical Center
2845 Greenbrier Road
Green Bay, WI 54308
920-288-8400

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