When it comes to the health of the bladder and pelvic floor, we at Urology Associates have a lot to offer women in terms of prevention, treatment, and education. Here are the top 5 things we think you should know:
1. Leakage of urine (incontinence) after childbirth is not normal
Even a pregnancy and birth that seemed normal and uneventful can result in a change of urinary control for almost half of women. For many, the issue comes right in the first 12 months afterwards. For those who continue to experience some level of leakage, your urologist can help. At Urology Associates, we offer a comprehensive range of options including minimally-invasive, mesh and non-mesh natural tissue surgeries.
Whether it’s stress incontinence (that little bit of leakage when you cough, sneeze or laugh) or urgency incontinence (leaking when your bladder is quite full and you badly need to go) female incontinence is not uncommon, especially as we age. And pregnancy and birth also put a lot of pressure on the organs, causing damage to the pelvic floor and causing their performance to change. Add these two factors together, it’s understandably something more and more women are dealing with as we choose to have kids later in life.
2. Prolapse is common
Many women have it and don’t even know it because it’s only mild. Pelvic organ prolapse happens when the pelvic floor muscles become so weak they allow a bit of bladder, rectal, or uterine tissue to bulge into your vagina. Symptoms may include:
• pressure and pain (including leg fatigue and discomfort in the lower back)
• stress incontinence
• difficulty going to the toilet (number 1s and 2s)
• urinary infections
• irritated vaginal tissues
• pain during sex
It's very common after childbirth and after menopause so if you’re experiencing any of these, see your GP for a thorough pelvic exam and they can refer you to us for treatment. If you prefer not to see your GP first phone us and we will see if we can help.
3. You shouldn’t put up with recurrent urine infections
Recurrent urine infections are painful, debilitating and not normal. If you’re experiencing more than three infections per year, ask your GP for a referral to a urologist for investigation and treatment as the root cause could be any number of things.
4. Pelvic pain can be puzzling to solve
In the general pelvic region, you have the bowel, bladder, uterus, and ovaries so it’s understandable that some pelvic pain is gynaecological. When it’s not, you need a urologist as bladder problems may be the cause. Other non-gynaecological sources of pelvic pain can include chronic constipation, UTI, pelvic floor spasms, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and even more serious stuff like colon cancer.
5. Needing to go all the time is fixable
If you feel the need to rush to the toilet every hour or get the urge to pee whenever someone turns a tap on, you have an overactive bladder. How annoying! There are lots of options that can help with this problem. Reducing how much alcohol and caffeine you’re consuming, and practising pelvic floor exercises can be very effective. At Urology Associates, we have specialised continence nurses that can teach bladder retraining. We also offer other non-invasive treatment options such as medications and even Botox.