Got a urinary incontinence test coming up? Here’s all you should know about it, including how to prepare for the assessment.
Urinary Incontinence Test: Symptoms, Preparation, and Treatment
What Is Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is when urine is released uncontrollably. It is not a disease, but rather a collection of problems in the urinary tract or the connective nerves of the urinary tract, brain, and spinal cord.
Most cases of urinary incontinence are temporary, but some may last for months. It occurs thrice as much in women as it does men.
What Are the Types of Urinary Incontinence?
The different types of urinary incontinence include:
- Urge Incontinence is the sudden urge to urinate despite the bladder containing little to no urine. This may be caused by an infection, nerve damage, or estrogen loss.
- Stress Incontinence is the involuntary urine release caused by stress on the bladder, such as coughing, laughing, jogging, or jumping. It occurs more in women than men as it often comes as a result of weakened pelvic floor muscles after pregnancy, pelvic surgery, and menopause.
- Overflow Incontinence occurs when the bladder is very full, and trace amounts of urine begin to leak out.
What Are the Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence?
- The urgency to urinate regardless of the bladder content, accompanied by pain, pressure, and discomfort in the pelvis
- Experiencing pain during urination
- Frequency of urination (more than every 2 hours)
- Urinating more than twice while sleeping
What Are the Different Urinary Incontinence Causes?
- Injury in the pelvic region
- Post-surgical injury
- Urinary tract infection
- Medications that interfere with the body’s urine storage ability (antidepressants, diuretics)
- Weak pelvic floor support as a result of pregnancy, childbirth, coughing, or obesity
- Complications of spinal cord injuries, stroke, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s disease
What Happens During Urinary Incontinence Testing?
Doctors who treat this condition are called urologists. When a patient comes in for a urinary incontinence test, the urologist will take the patient’s detailed medical history and have them complete a physical exam, which includes a rectal and pelvic examination.
Other tests the doctor may recommend are the following:
- A urine test, where a urine sample is tested for any sign of infection by bacteria
- Cystoscopy, wherein a cystoscope is inserted into the urethra and led towards the bladder. This lets the doctor see if there are abnormal conditions inside the bladder and along the way.
- A urodynamic study, where the patient’s ability to recognize if their bladder is full is tested. It tests the amount of urine the patient’s bladder can hold, as well as the strength of the sphincter muscle in emptying the bladder.
- A cystogram, which uses x-rays and contrast dyes in order to detect problems in the patient’s bladder
- Intravenous pyelogram, otherwise known as IVP, where contrast dyes are injected into the bloodstream. After which, several x-rays are taken as the dye circulates around the kidneys. This allows the test to detect any abnormality in the size, shape, and function of the kidneys and bladder, as well as the presence of tumors, cysts, or kidney stones.
What Are the Different Ways of Treating Urinary Incontinence?
After taking a urinary incontinence test, evaluation, and diagnosis, the doctor may recommend a variety of treatments:
These are the first course of treating urinary incontinence. They may include antibiotics to help clear infections.
Doctors may also recommend medication to help patients control bladder contractions. Hormone therapy may also be recommended for women experiencing urinary incontinence during and beyond they menopausal years.
2. Bladder Training
Conditioning the pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises are often helpful, especially with urge incontinence.
Training the bladder is also helpful ― the patient will keep a schedule for fluid intake, as well as urination times. This helps train and condition the bladder to empty at specific times.
3. Special Devices and Therapy
A pessary may be given to the patient to help strengthen pelvic muscles. It is a device meant to be inserted into the vagina to press against the urethra, thus preventing leakage.
Biofeedback therapy may also be used to help control urinary incontinence. This involves tools with sensors placed into the vagina to capture electrical activity which indicates pelvic contractions.
Doctors may opt for surgery if no other methods work. It may be a colposuspension, wherein an incision would be made in the lower abdomen, then the bladder neck is lifted and stitched back in a lifted position.
Sling surgery is also another solution to urinary incontinence. It involves making an incision in the lower abdomen and vagina, then a sling is placed around the bladder neck for support and prevention of urine leaks.
Other surgical procedures include:
- urethral bulking agents that increase the size of urethral walls;
- artificial urinary sphincter where a circular cuff is placed around the urethra; or
- tappe, where a strip of the surgical mech is inserted into incisions made in the vagina and threaded behind the urethra.
Unmanaged urinary incontinence may cause health complications like infection, sores, and rashes. It may also cause frustration, depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety in the long run.
Visiting your doctor may be the best solution to urinary incontinence and its potential complications. He or she can better identify the symptoms and order the appropriate tests to outline the suitable treatment plan for you.
Where Can You Get Treated for Urinary Incontinence?
Seek a Urologist for urinary tract support, or talk to your primary care physician to point you in the right direction. Our trained and experienced medical professionals at Midwest Urological Group can treat patients in Peoria, IL, and surrounding areas.
If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment for urinary incontinence evaluation and treatment in Peoria, IL, call Midwest Urological Group at (309) 692-9898.