Speaking Up About Incontinence

Woman and TulipsMany women experience symptoms of urinary incontinence, but more than half of all women who have incontinence do not seek medical care for it, according to a report by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. If you’re one of them, you need to know that you don’t have to put up with the discomfort and embarrassment of urinary incontinence.

“Incontinence is not a disease,” said Simi Valley Hospital urogynecologist Lawrence Lin, MD. “Rather, it is a symptom of something else that’s going on in the body. There are many different types of incontinence, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis from a physician so that your incontinence can be treated appropriately and effectively.”

The most common types of incontinence include:

  • Stress incontinence, an involuntary loss of small amounts of urine when laughing, sneezing, coughing, exercising and so forth.
  • Urge incontinence, an involuntary leak of large amounts of urine following a strong, sudden desire to urinate.
  • Mixed incontinence, a combination of urge and stress incontinence.
  • Overflow incontinence, leakage that occurs because the bladder does not fully empty during urination.

Help Is Here

Medical conditions, such as weak pelvic muscles, diabetes and urinary tract infections, can cause incontinence. So can certain medications. Incontinence is not a normal part of aging, and it can also affect young women, especially after childbirth.

But there are effective treatments for the condition. Your doctor may recommend that you eliminate certain spicy or acidic foods from your diet and avoid drinks with caffeine. You may also be prescribed medicine or told to perform exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles that control your bladder.

Remember, urinary incontinence is a common problem. If you have symptoms, ask your doctor for help.

“Embarrassment is the number-one reason that women avoid seeking treatment for incontinence,” Dr. Lin said. “It is important for women to realize that their doctors see this condition on a regular basis. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by speaking up.”

Let Simi Valley Hospital Help You Regain Bladder Control

The professional staff at Simi Valley Hospital’s Outpatient Physical Therapy Clinic offers an outstanding treatment program for female incontinence.

The clinic’s physical therapists combine exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor (the muscles at the base of the pelvis) with biofeedback and muscle stimulation to increase muscle strength and improve the reflexes needed to keep urine in during a sudden or forceful event, such as coughing or laughing.

For more information about Simi Valley Hospital’s Urinary Incontinence Program, call 805-955-8170.

Meet Lawrence Lin, MD

Dr. LinSpecializing in gynecology and urogynecology, Lawrence Lin, MD, provides a wide range of health services for women, including treatment of bladder control issues and gynecological surgery using laparoscopic techniques.

Dr. Lin is a graduate of Chicago’s Rush Medical College, and in addition to an OB/GYN residency, he has completed fellowships in both advanced laparoscopic gynecological surgery and urogynecology. He is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology.

You can reach Dr. Lin at 805-449-1778.

Looking for a physician in Simi Valley, Moorpark or the surrounding communities? Use Simi Valley Hospital’s free, online Find-a-Doctor service.

Spring 2007