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Topic:  Bladder Problems

Urinary incontinence is a common health problem for women of all ages, but many women are reluctant to discuss with their physician.

Urine leakage is a problem for millions of women in the U.S.  It is more common in older women, but it can also affect younger women.  About half of adult women have had urine leakage at one time or another, says Dr. Sohail Siddique, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.  He explains the types of urinary incontinence.

SOUND BITE:  “A common one is what’s called stress incontinence or leaking with coughing, laughing, sneezing, any kind of physical activity.  Another common one is urge, where most people have the urge to go and they leak urine before the make it to the restroom.”

Dr. Siddique says the causes of incontinence include age, weight gain, pregnancy, genetics and neurological problems.  To treat the condition, he usually starts with conservative treatments like Kegals exercises, physical therapy and weight loss.  He explains some other treatment options.

SOUND BITE:    “. . . the first problem is to figure out what type of incontinence you have and then depending on what type, there’s medications and things like that pessaries, which are devices you put in the vagina to help incontinence.  There’s surgery, there’s physical therapy, and extensive treatments are available for this.”

Dr. Siddique says many people are embarrassed to discuss their urinary incontinence, even though it is a common problem.  He urges individuals who have urinary leakage to seek treatment from their primary care physician or a gynecologist early in the condition so that treatment options can be considered and one’s quality of life can be improved.

This is Ruth Slottag at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.