Incontinence is a Treatable Problem
headline-making impotence pill, helped make sexual dysfunction a household
word. And that's exactly what a hose of new treatments may soon do for urinary
incontinence--the accidental leakage of urine--and one of the last remaining
taboo topics in medicine.
Nearly 25% of Americans age 18 or older
experience one or more symptoms of urinary incontinence. That equals
approximately 17 million people, 85% of whom are women. Yet only 20% of
sufferers are currently under a doctor's care. The average women with
incontinence waits 8 years before seeking medical help.
incontinence is caused by pregnancy and childbirth, hormonal deficiency,
urinary tract infections, or by the bladder or other pelvic organs slipping out
of place. Among men, incontinence is often a result of prostate
But thanks to new medications and/or behavioral modifications,
fully 85% of sufferers can expect to be cured of their problem if they seek
Whether people avoid the topic because of embarrassment, because
of the belief that incontinence is a natural consequence of growing old, or
simply because they don't know that help is available, the result is needless
suffering. Beside discomfort, incontinence contributes to depression, social
isolation, and inactivity. In fact, many people with incontinence may refuse
social invitations and avoid sexual intimacy because they fear they'll lose
control of their bladder.
Urinary incontinence is often temporary,
usually treatable, and sometimes curable. And it's never too late to address
the problem. The first step is making an accurate diagnosis.
also expect an examination for medical conditions such as urinary tract
infections, or, in men, prostate problems that may cause incontinence, and a
test to measure how much urine remains in your bladder after urination. Other
common tests include blood work that tests for levels of a variety of
substances that may point to causes for incontinence. There's also cytoscopy,
which involves inserting a small tube with a tiny camera into the bladder so
the doctor can see the urethra and bladder. Ultrasound exams use sound waves to
check the condition of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. These tests
and several others can help your doctor determine what type of incontinence you
Two new prescription alternatives in drug therapy were approved
within the last year.
A new formulation of oxybutynin (Ditropan XL)
allows patients to take the medication once a day instead of every few hours.
This medication works by curbing bladder spasms.
The new medication
tolterodine (Detrol) relaxes the bladder, which can reduce the number of times
a person needs to urinate in a day by as much as 21%.
In addition to
Ditropan XL and Detrol, options include:
~Estrogen preparations for
postmenopausal women can now be administered continuously in low does directly
onto vaginal tissue via a small, flexible plastic ring called an Estring.
~Over-the-counter decongestants such as Sudafed and Actifed (brands of
pseudoephedrine) may help temporarily by contracting the smooth muscles of the
~The antidepressant imipramine (Tofranil) may be prescribed (in
very low doses) because it helps tone the sphincter.www.primarymedicalcare.comPrimary Medical Care Website Medical Disclaimer Information
provided on this web site is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute
for professional medical advice and is not intended to replace the services of
a physician, nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. You should
not use information on this web site or the information on links from this site
to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a
qualified healthcare provider. If you have or suspect you have an urgent
medical problem, promptly contact a professional healthcare provider. Primary
Medical Care advises you to always seek the advice of a physician or other
qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any
questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Any application of the
recommendations in this website is at the reader's discretion. As a courtesy,
Primary Medical Care may provide links to outside sources and websites operated
by other parties; however, Primary Medical Care is not responsible for
information produced by other parties or on other web sites. The links are
provided for your convenience only. The inclusion of links does not imply any
endorsement of the materials or any association with their producers. Primary
Medical Care does not operate, control or endorse any information, products or
services provided by third parties through the Internet. While we strive to
keep our website current, medical practices sometimes change quickly, and we
cannot guarantee accuracy of the contents.