I’m Dr. George Ibrahim, and I’m going to explain a little bit about what stress urinary incontinence is, what causes it and touch on what can be done about it.
Urologists specialize in urinary problems in both men and women. As a Duke trained urologist and associate clinical professor, I’ve been treating this problem and teaching other doctors to care for it, for over thirty years.
Two Types of Incontinence
There are two main types of urinary incontinence: urge incontinence and stress incontinence. Urge incontinence occurs when you find yourself all of a sudden getting the desire or urge to urinate, and are hoping to find a restroom, while you dance on your tippy-toes and cross your legs, and before you get to the facilities, you find yourself leaking.
Stress urinary incontinence or SUI happens when you laugh, cough, sneeze, bend over or exercise. This is due to the abdominal pressure exceeding the sphincter mechanism in women. And while only 50% of women over the age of 35 will admit to this problem, in my experience, the number is closer to nearly 90% in women over the age of 50 who have experienced at least one vaginal delivery.
Many women don’t even “complain” about SUI because so many of their friends, their mother, their sister, all have it too, and therefore they feel that it’s just part of growing older. Nonsense! Do you think men would tolerate leaking every time they coughed or bent over? Heck no! And neither should you!
Causes of Stress Urinary Incontinence
So what causes SUI in women? Let me explain. A woman’s continence mechanism is based on her urethra being supple. When a woman loses estrogen, as happens in all women going through menopause, her tissues become dry and stiff. Picture a whoopie cushion. If I were to blow into a whoopie cushion with my mouth, the moisture from my breath would cause the sides of the tongue to stick together, and hold the air in the cushion. Well, this tongue is like the urethra, and the cushion is basically a bladder.
Estrogen stimulates the tissues around the urethra to stay moist and supple. Without this absolutely safe, bio-identical and crucial hormone that women had until menopause, the tissues become dry and stiff, which keep them from sticking together, and thus, it’s a wide-open tunnel or “straw” that allows urine to leak when pressure is increased around the bladder.
And as a woman ages, her tissues become less robust and weaken, around the urethra. Both the laser treatments and Platelet Rich Plasma will help with this problem.
Stress urinary incontinence is no laughing matter, pun intended! And today, it’s treatable in the vast majority of cases, without surgery, risks, pain, or downtime! So, stop accepting those unexpected leaks as part of your life! And don’t let this problem get worse. You deserve the confidence of knowing you won’t leak all over yourself. Contact our office today, you have nothing to lose except all those mini-pads and liners you’ve got in your purse!