Urinary incontinence is a symptom, not a condition. It can be a sign of many different things, including a physical weakening of the walls that support the bladder, medical conditions or daily habits. Medical conditions such as urinary tract infections and obesity are common causes. As a woman ages, the walls in the abdomen and pelvic area begin to weaken. This can cause leaking, especially when a woman sneezes, coughs or laughs. Pregnancy, neurological disorders, and menopause can also cause urinary incontinence. Before a patient can be treated, the doctor must first find the underlying cause.
The treatment will depend on what is found to be causing the problem. Once the original cause is determined, and a treatment plan is put in place, the symptoms of urinary incontinence may take care of itself. If the symptom has to do with aging, menopause or other long-term conditions, the use of Kegel exercises may be of some benefit. The exercise involves controlling the flow of urine while using the bathroom, starting and stopping the flow using muscle control. This may strengthen the abdominal and pelvic muscles enough to help the symptoms.
If all other methods have failed, and correcting the possible cause has not provided satisfactory results, a surgical procedure can be performed that allows a woman to overcome urinary incontinence. During this procedure, a sling is surgically attached to the abdominal wall to support the bladder and hold it in place. The sling is a permanent fix and will remain in place for the rest of the woman’s life. This additional support can also help prevent the bladder from becoming prolapsed or tilted forward. Many doctors will commonly recommend the sling if the woman lives a very active lifestyle.
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