Types of Incontinence and Expert Treatment in Los Angeles

Urinary IncontinenceUrinary incontinence is defined as the involuntary loss of urine or bladder control. It affects millions of Americans, both men and women. Unfortunately, many men and women believe incontinence is a natural effect of aging and do not feel that treatment is available. Urinary incontinence is not a disease, but rather is a symptom due to an underlying problem that can almost always be treated. There are many types of urinary incontinence, and different underlying causes for each type. The impact of the problem in one’s life cannot be underestimated. The chance of embarrassment, limitations to travel and social engagement as well as loss of productivity represent only a part of the difficulties patients experience with this problem.

At Comprehensive Urology Medical Group, our team works with our patients in order to create a tailored program to help address their specific problem. To learn more about what incontinence treatments could do for you, call (310) 499-2756 or contact us online today!

Types of Incontinence Symptoms

There are different types of urinary incontinence:

  • Stress Incontinence – Leakage occurs with strong pressure transmitted through the abdomen and pelvis, often from straining, coughing, laughing or sneezing.
  • Urge Incontinence – Leakage occurs due to involuntary contractions of the bladder muscle. It is also termed “overactive bladder.”
  • Mixed Urinary Incontinence – Leakage due to a combination of the above.
  • Overflow Incontinence – Leakage occurs due to an overflow of urine from a full bladder.

Causes of Overactive Bladder

There are many causes of incontinence which include:

  • Infection and inflammation
  • Anatomic variations due to childbirth or surgery
  • Neuromuscular dysfunction due to stroke, spinal cord injury, diabetes or other underlying disease
  • Benign prostatic hypertrophy (an enlarged prostate)

At Comprehensive Urology, we believe that a proper and thorough evaluation is the first step to understanding the cause of the problem.

Evaluation of Frequent Urination

Urinary incontinence affects men and womenOur team first begins with a thorough history and physical examination. Even with all of our advanced diagnostic techniques, this time honored tradition often is the most important tool in identifying the cause of our patient’s symptoms. When we take the time to listen to your story, the nature of the problem and sometimes, more importantly, the personal context becomes obvious. A voiding diary is often employed to document the extent of leakage and context in which it occurs.

Diagnostic Studies

A careful examination of the urine and laboratory values are used to help assist with the diagnosis of the underlying cause of incontinence. Other studies that can assist with the diagnosis may include pelvic ultrasound, post void residual examination, cystoscopy, and urodynamic studies. These studies can help our physicians better understand the relationships between the urinary bladder and surrounding tissues.

Incontinence Treatment

Urology DoctorFortunately there are many therapies available to treat urinary incontinence. Our physicians work with each patient to help determine their optimal treatment program.

These therapies include medications, non-pharmacologic approaches, as well as surgical procedures.


Multiple medications are available and help manage different types of urinary incontinence and associated symptoms. They must be balanced against the risk of side effect or interactions with other necessary medications. With careful consideration of each individual’s need, an appropriate medicine can be selected and implemented with scheduled follow up to evaluate results.

Non-Pharmacologic Approaches

For some patients, medications may not be the right solution due to side effects or medication interactions, or they may need further assistance with their symptoms.

One of the specialized programs that we offer at Comprehensive Urology is Pelvic floor rehabilitation therapy. Regular sessions with our doctors and therapists have yielded excellent results often in patients who have not benefited from other types of therapy. We monitor the progress of each patient during their sessions, and often the therapies can be taught to patients to perform themselves outside the office. In addition, diet and lifestyle changes with behavioral modification may assist in treatment.

Another specialized treatment that we offer at Comprehensive Urology Medical Group is Peripheral Nerve Stimulation. This new and novel therapy is painless, has no side effects, and has been extremely effective in managing irritative urinary symptoms in patients who have often not been able to find relief with other treatments.

Surgical Approaches

Many men and women who suffer from urinary incontinence may benefit from minimally invasive surgical treatments to assist with their symptoms. Our physicians perform a variety of pelvic and urethral support procedures that are customized to each patient. For women, trans-vaginal, and trans-obturator slings, for example can be placed in an outpatient setting.

For men experiencing difficulties after surgeries or radiation, several male sling options exist or an artificial urinary sphincter may be implanted.

Endoscopic injections can serve to curb leakage in many settings and are very well tolerated with local anesthetic and a sedative.

In certain cases, sacral neuromodulation or nerve stimulator implants can be used to electrically stimulate the bladder nerve roots and improve voiding or stop leakage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the question to see the answer

Q: What are the different types of incontinence and how do they differ?

A: There are three types of urinary incontinence: overflow incontinence, stress incontinence and urge incontinence. In overflow incontinence, the bladder does not empty properly. This is caused by nerve problems or obstruction of the bladder. Stress incontinence is usually linked to a person’s activity levels because it occurs when the patient is exerting force on the abdominal area. Actions such as lifting, coughing or engaging on some sort of physical activity can cause urinary leakage. Urge incontinence is characterized by the sudden, uncontrollable need to urinate even when the patient do not want to.

Q: Is incontinence an inevitable part of aging?

A: No, urinary incontinence should not be considered an inevitable part of aging. As mentioned above, it cuts across all age groups and sexes. Treatment should not be avoided as there are many options available both surgical or non-surgical therapy.

Q: Does having diabetes increase my risk for incontinence?

A: Incontinence can certainly be more common in diabetic patients since diabetes tends to hinder the bladder’s ability to properly empty fluids. Diabetic patients may develop overflow, stress or urge incontinence.

Q: Can incontinence come and go?

A: Some people experience incontinence for a few weeks, and find themselves relieved of symptoms in other weeks. UI can come and go depending on what is causing the condition. For instance, some people may only experience stress incontinence when they have a severe cold and coughing symptoms. Periods of excessive and strenuous activity may also cause stress incontinence. The weather may and caffeine intake may also play a role in developing urge incontinence.

Q: How is incontinence diagnosed?

A: A proper evaluation by your medical health professional should be done. Your doctor will take your medical and family history into account, along with a physical examination. An analysis on your urine and further testing with x-ray studies and urodynamics will help determine the type of incontinence you are experiencing.

Q: What are the main causes of urinary incontinence?

A: The exact causes of urinary incontinence may vary. In men, prostate surgery is one of the most common reasons why they develop the condition. Typically for women, pregnancy and vaginal childbirth are common causes for urinary incontinence.

Q: What are Kegel exercises and are they effective in treating UI?

A: Kegel exercises are designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles in order to support the pelvic floor and maintain proper continence. Kegel exercises relieve the symptoms of urge or stress incontinence and have little to no side effects compared to other treatments.

Contact Our Los Angeles Specialists in Urology

Urinary incontinence is a very common but treatable condition in both males and females.  If you’d like to learn more about urinary incontinence, schedule your initial consultation with an expert Los Angeles Urologist by calling (310) 499-2756.

Incontinence is one of the most common urological problems worldwide. Although it tends to be more common in older people, especially women, the condition can happen to any age group, male or female. Fortunately, urinary incontinence is a generally very treatable condition and symptoms can be relieved after the type of incontinence is identified and treatment ensues.

Next, read Vaginal Reconstruction and Pelvic Prolapse.

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