Women’s Health Week: Urinary incontinence and overactive bladder

It's a topic most women don't want to talk about -- urinary incontinence and overactive bladder.

As, Women's Health Week continues here at NEWS9, on Wednesday we tackle a topic most women don't want to talk about -- urinary incontinence and overactive bladder.

Urinary incontinence, and overactive bladder are problems that shouldn't be ignored, said Dr. Tina Cutone, obstetrician-gynecologist, Weirton Medical Center.

“It's estimated that it will affect about 75 percent of women at some point in their life,” Cutone said. “That's huge.”

Many people think it's a problem that only affects older women, but there are actually many risk factors.

“Things like child birth, things like chronic constipation, where you strain a lot. Things like lifting. Having a job where you do a lot of lifting. Being overweight is actually a risk factor as well,” Cutone said.

There are some possible quick fixes for relief, starting with your coffee routine.

“The fact of the matter is, it doesn't matter what time of day you drink the coffee because caffeine affects the bladder, it can remain affecting the bladder for up to 3 days,” Cutone said.

She says cut down your caffeine intake and step up your exercise.

And speaking of exercise, that may be the time women start to experience symptoms.

“Often what I tell them is to put in a super tampon before they exercise, because that's usually puts enough pressure on the urethrae so that you don't leak,” Cutone said. “So if you can manage it in those ways in non-invasive ways, certainly that's the best.”

If it happens once or twice, it may not be a big issue, says Cutone, but more than that, and you should consult your doctor, no matter how embarrassed you may feel.

“In fact, most of my patients, I can say that if don't' ask them about it, they don't bring it up,” Cutone said.

The range of treatments varies, from lifestyle changes, to medication, to invasive procedures like an InterStim device for overactive bladder.

That procedure, and others, are done through WMC's Incontinence Center.

“We have available bio-feedback, which is a special kind of pelvic floor physical therapy that we do to strengthen those muscles in the pelvic floor,” Cutone said. “We have tibial nerve stimulation, which is another non-invasive, non-surgical approach to treating over active bladder, and that's done in the office.”

No matter the treatment, Cutone says women can find relief and return to a better quality of life if they address the problem.

“There's help out there, and you don't have to live with this,” Cutone said. “Many women think, 'oh it's just part of getting older, and I have to live with this.' It's really not. There are really good treatments that we have for it now.”

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