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July 16, 2008 > Don't Let Bladder Control Issues Take Control of You

Don't Let Bladder Control Issues Take Control of You

Women's Center Class Addresses Urinary Incontinence and Other Issues

For women with bladder control issues, it's not an uncommon as you may think. And if you're wondering if it's time to seek treatment, a free lecture at the Washington Women's Center focusing on urinary incontinence and overactive bladder may be the place to start.
Join Washington Township Medical Group urologist Mark Saleh next Tuesday to learn more about an issue that affects millions of women.
Dr. Saleh is tackling these issues simply because they are so common, he says. While more than 13 million Americans, men and women, young and old, have incontinence, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, it is women who are more likely to be affected.
Many different causes
"These issues are very common in women of just about all ages, especially after having had at least one child," Dr. Saleh points out.
Urinary incontinence, which happens when urine leaks before you are able to reach the bathroom, has many causes. Dr. Saleh will explore some of the most common causes and options for treatment.
Stress incontinence is the most common type of incontinence and leakage occurs when coughing, sneezing, exercising, laughing, lifting heavy things and other movements put pressure on the bladder.
Pregnancy and giving birth, Dr. Saleh explains, are factors that can cause relaxation and stretching of the ligaments that support the bladder, leading to the organ's hypermobility. When sudden coughing or sneezing triggers an increase in abdominal pressure the urethra may open allowing urine to leak.
Having multiple children, as well as hormonal changes that occur with age, can cause additional stretching and weakening of the tissue around the bladder, also making these issues more prominent, Dr. Saleh says, but he adds that stress incontinence also can affect women in their 20s and 30s without these issues whose leakage may be triggered by activities such as jogging or other sports.
The decision to seek treatment is a personal one and depends upon how inconvenient or uncomfortable it is for the individual, he adds.
Gotta go, gotta go
Another major issue for women is overactive bladder, Dr. Saleh says, pointing out the myriad advertisements for medications such as Detrol(r) LA and VESIcare that may help calm the bladder muscle that causes frequent, sudden urges to urinate.
Overactive bladder, which Dr. Saleh says can be described as "gotta go, gotta go" syndrome, is sometimes idiopathic, meaning it has no obvious cause, or sometimes people leak when they have a sudden urge, known as urge incontinence. Often, Dr. Saleh sees both.
Leakage can occur after a strong, sudden urge to urinate, possibly when you're not expecting it, such as when you're sleeping, after drinking water, or when you hear running water or touch it.
Many times different types of bladder control issues will present similarly, Dr. Saleh says, but have very different causes. Depending on the cause and type of incontinence, treatments vary widely, from lifestyle changes or medication to surgery if other remedies are not effective.
Dr. Saleh encourages patients to talk to their doctor about symptoms if they are interfering with daily activities. For instance, if you find yourself pinpointing the location of every bathroom in the shopping mall before walking around, it is advisable to talk to your physician.
Diagnostic advancements
"The time to see a specialist is when other options have been exhausted," he says. "A lot of times, patients have already been tried on medications, they've reduced their fluid intake, cut out caffeine and done Kegel exercises and these options have failed. Then it's time to discuss more advanced diagnostic testing."
One method of determining the cause of urinary incontinence is a series of diagnostics tests referred to as Urodynamics that can help evaluate the function of the bladder and urethra for patients experiencing incontinence symptoms.
Done on an outpatient basis, the results of the tests help Dr. Saleh in making a proper diagnosis and in developing an appropriate treatment plan. The tests themselves, which are performed by a trained urology nurse, can be performed in the doctor's office. Patients don't require anesthesia and can drive home after the test.
Dr. Saleh says the first step to tackling urinary incontinence is learning more.
"This class is going to make participants feel like they're not alone in facing bladder control issues," he says. "My main message is that incontinence is treatable and this class will allow them to have a better understanding of the origins of the problem and what they can do about it. It's going to be very casual. If people have urinary tract questions, I would certainly be willing to address those questions as well."
Learn more
Dr. Saleh will discuss bladder control issues, diagnosis and treatment from 7 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 22, at the Washington Women's Center as part of the center's monthly Evening Lecture Series.
The Washington Women's Center is located at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont, across the street from the main hospital.
Participants are asked to call (510) 608-1301 to register.
Next month's lecture will focus on yoga as a means to relieve chronic pain and will include participation in a gentle yoga class. This class requires a fee of $10 at the time of registration and will begin at 6:30 p.m.

WHAT: Women's Center Evening Lecture Series
TOPIC: Bladder Control Issues
WHEN: 7 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, July 22
WHERE: Washington Women's Center, 2500 Mowry Ave., Fremont
TO REGISTER: Call (510) 608-1301

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