Loss of Bladder Control

Urinary incontinence is a common, yet often embarrassing problem. Nearly 50% of women and 25% of men experience urinary incontinence or loss of bladder control. Although it may be hard to talk about, you aren’t alone - and there is help.

There are several different types of urinary incontinence, including:

  • Functional incontinence - something physical or mental prevents you from urinating
  • Overactive bladder - frequent urge to urinate or frequent urination
  • Overflow incontinence - leakage of urine because of a full bladder
  • Stress incontinence - leakage of urine while coughing, sneezing, exercising or laughing
  • Temporary incontinence - urine leakage because of an infection, illness or medication
  • Urge incontinence - leakage of urine at unexpected times

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

Symptoms of urinary incontinence can be mild or severe. Your symptoms will help diagnose which type of incontinence you are experiencing. Symptoms include:

  • Involuntary loss of urine control
  • Leaking urine while asleep
  • Painful urination (burning)
  • Sudden urge to urinate
  • Urinating more frequently
  • Waking from sleep often to urinate

Urine leakage is common as you age or after childbirth. If symptoms impact your quality of life or change your daily routine, it’s time to make an appointment with a doctor. Many different factors can cause urinary incontinence. Common reasons include

  • Age
  • Bladder irritation or disease
  • Blocked urethra
  • Chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, disability, chronic constipation
  • Infections
  • Medication
  • Menopause
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nerve damage
  • Neurological conditions
  • Poor health
  • Prior surgery, including hysterectomy or pelvic surgery
  • Prolapsed bladder
  • Radiation to the pelvic region
  • Smoking
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Vaginal birth or pregnancy

The good news is there are effective nonsurgical and surgical treatments that can help improve your bladder control and your pelvic floor health. Our urogynecology experts offer advanced testing in the office to develop a personalized treatment plan for you.

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Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

A Comprehensive, Multidisciplinary Team Approach

Our specialists offer more than just a comprehensive diagnosis for your urinary incontinence. We are a team of medical and surgical specialists who work together to offer you both surgical and nonsurgical solutions to control your bladder. We work with your primary care physician, physical therapists and other members of your health care team to make sure you get the best possible care to manage your urinary incontinence.

Medical and Surgical Expertise

We develop personalized treatment plans depending on the cause and type of your urinary incontinence. Often times, your condition can be treated with behavioral modifications, medications, or physical therapy. When surgery is necessary, our urogynecologists use minimally invasive surgical techniques and robotic-assisted surgery to help you recover quicker, with less pain. We also have expertise in transvaginal mesh placement for long-term control of urinary incontinence.

Support Groups

Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other patients and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.

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