At Central Maine Healthcare, we offer compassionate and skillful care for those suffering from bladder issues and urinary incontinence. This condition can be embarrassing and confusing, and we’re here to help guide you through diagnosis and treatment so you can get back to a carefree lifestyle. Our team of friendly doctors and nurses are here to assist you with your every need.
Urinary Incontinence 101
Bladder control problems are more common among Americans than Alzheimer’s disease or osteoporosis, and women are twice as likely as men to experience this problem. Urinary incontinence conditions cause quality-of-life issues. Even though it’s a common complaint, many people are reluctant to seek help because of embarrassment and they may also not know that effective treatment is available.
As a result, people with bladder control problems may be afraid to socialize because they fear venturing too far from a bathroom. Others are forced to limit physical activities. People lose sleep or experience unpleasant, sometimes painful symptoms.
Common urinary complaints include:
- Leakage of urine with exercise, laughter, sneezing, coughing, etc. This is known as stress urinary incontinence.
- The need to hurry to the bathroom after feeling the urge to urinate. This is called urgency/urge incontinence.
- Chronic urinary tract infections
- Post-prostatectomy incontinence
- Urinary retention (the inability to urinate)
- Difficulty urinating
- Painful urination
- Frequent urination during the daytime (going more than seven times per day)
- Frequent nighttime urination
- The inability to start the stream of urination
- Straining to urinate
Women with and without urinary dysfunction may also have a variety of pelvic anatomical problems.
These issues can include:
- Cystocele: When the bladder drops into the vaginal canal.
- Rectocele: When the rectum drops into the vaginal canal.
- Enterocele: When the small bowel drops into the vaginal canal.
- Uterine prolapse: When the uterus drops into the vaginal canal.
- Vaginal vault prolapse: When the uterus has been removed and the cuff of the vagina drops into the vaginal canal.
Diagnosing Urinary Incontinence
Our physicians will work with you to identify symptoms, collect medical history, and provide screening tests.
These diagnostic tests might include:
- Exam: Physical and neurologic examination of the pelvic area.
- Cystoscopy: A cystoscopy is a procedure performed by a urologist or urogynecologist. It allows the doctor to look directly inside the urethra and bladder. The procedure takes just a few minutes and once the procedure is complete, the doctor will chat with you about the results and offer recommendations.
- Urethroscopy: Looking inside the urine channel (urethra).
- Bladder scanning: This is a non-invasive and painless procedure that measures post-urination residual, which is the amount of urine that remains in the bladder after urination. Patients who may have higher than normal post-urination residuals include females with pelvic organ prolapse, males with prostate enlargement, and patients experiencing urinary retention or overflow incontinence.
- Urodynamic testing: This is a series of tests that measure the function of the bladder, specifically how it fills and empties. The test helps the urologist diagnose and treat bladder problems.
- Bladder instillations: Used to help in diagnosing interstitial cystitis.
Treatment for Urinary Incontinence
After you and your doctor have gotten to the root of the problem, you’ll work together to design a treatment plan that will get you back to a healthy state and comfortable life.
Our treatment options include:
- Collagen injections
- Pubovaginal slings/TVT/TOT
- Physical therapy
- Pelvic reconstructive procedures to correct prolapse and other anatomical defects
We also offer to teach some of our patients self-straight catherization, when needed. Occasionally, patients need to catheterize themselves on a regular schedule to be able to urinate. Our nurses are available by appointment to provide one-on-one self-straight catheterization instruction to patients. They will show you step-by-step how to perform self-straight catheterization, then have you demonstrate to ensure it is done correctly. You’ll get written instructions to take home in case you need any reminders. Our nurses will also check in on you within 48 hours to make sure you’re doing well and to answer questions.