Aging. Childbirth. Menopause. Each of these can contribute to a problem that most women do not want to talk about — urinary incontinence.
While urinary leakage is common among women, with an estimated 13 million women dealing with some form of incontinence, it is not considered normal. And, you don’t have to live with it. Today, there are more treatment options for incontinence than ever before, and most cases can be controlled, if not cured.
The resources of Edward-Elmhurst Health enable us to offer a wide range of urogynecologic services across the system. Our goal is to help you overcome incontinence, pelvic pain, pelvic floor disorders, and more so you can get back to life as usual.
Types of incontinence
There are three types of incontinence (leaking of urine):
- Stress incontinence results when certain activities, such as sneezing, laughing or exercise, lead to increased pressure on the bladder and result in a small amount of leakage.
- Urge incontinence, also known as overactive bladder, is a loss of bladder control following an overwhelming urge to urinate. Symptoms may also include urinary frequency and getting up often at night to urinate.
- Overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder will not empty completely, which causes an overflow, frequency and leakage of urine.
Causes of incontinence and pelvic disorders
Weakness or atrophy in the pelvic floor muscles or structural defects of the pelvic organs can cause or contribute to incontinence and prolapse. Life experiences, such as childbirth, infertility treatment, menopause, and other health conditions, such as chronic constipation and straining, chronic coughing, obesity and heavy-lifting, can cause or contribute to these issues. In addition, certain disease treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can also contribute to pelvic floor disorders.
Men can experience incontinence, too. Men with nerve damage or muscle weakness due to trauma or as part of back pain, as well as those undergoing cancer treatment that affects the pelvic area, such as radiation treatment for prostate cancer, may experience different levels of incontinence.
Your pelvic medicine team
Led by a group of board certified, fellowship trained urogynecologists and specially trained nurses, the Women's Center for Pelvic Medicine at Edward-Elmhurst Health offers a range of treatment options for pelvic floor disorders, including bladder and bowel problems and prolapse of the female organs.
We provide surgical and non-surgical approaches to the management of urinary incontinence, voiding difficulties, uterine and vaginal prolapse, genitourinary fistulas and mesh related complications.
Treatment options at the Women’s Center for Pelvic Medicine
After we meet with you and obtain a complete medical history, we’ll develop your individualized treatment plan, which may include a combination of treatments based on your unique needs:
If you have complicated symptoms, your doctor may recommend urodynamic testing, which is a diagnostic study of the function of the lower urinary tract (the bladder and urethra). The test involves measurements of urine pressure and flow rate to evaluate how the bladder carries out its functions. The results can provide insight into why other treatments have failed and/or what is causing the incontinence. Testing is completed on an outpatient basis.
With this treatment option, patients maintain a journal and learn how to consciously alter the bladder's schedule for storing and emptying urine. This technique can be quite effective for urge and overflow incontinence.
This is an option for persistent and severe stress incontinence that doesn't respond to conservative treatment.
TVT is one of the most successful surgeries for stress incontinence. Slings are placed in the body to prevent stress incontinence by supporting the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body).
A procedure that allows your doctor to look into your bladder and urethra with a special telescope, called a cystoscope.
Candidates for urogynecologic services
Candidates for urogyne services include women who have been diagnosed with pelvic pain, vaginal prolapse, pelvic floor disorders, overactive bladder or incontinence. Women who have had a hysterectomy or a C-section may also benefit from treatment to prevent pelvic floor problems.
Get more information or make an appointment
The Edward-Elmhurst Women’s Center for Pelvic Medicine has two convenient locations:
Edward Hospital Campus, Medical Office Building 2
120 Spalding Dr., Ste 401
Elmhurst Hospital Campus, Center for Health
1200 S. York St., Ste 4250
Hours by appointment. For more information or to make an appointment for an evaluation, please call 630-527-5120 (Naperville) or 331-221-5720 (Elmhurst).
Pelvic floor rehabilitation
Pelvic floor physical therapy has been increasing in prevalence with patients seeking alternative treatments for pelvic pain, incontinence and other pelvic issues. One in seven women in the US suffers from pelvic pain.
We may recommend Kegel exercises to help strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor. "E-stim", a non-invasive, low-voltage electrical stimulation to the pelvic floor muscles, can help calm overactive bladder muscles and improve muscle strength. Biofeedback can help increase awareness of pelvic floor muscle contractions. It may be as simple as a hand mirror used to observe muscle contractions, or as complex as an electronic device that detects when pelvic muscles contract. Learn more about pelvic floor rehabilitation.
Like incontinence, pelvic pain is often treatable. A physical therapist will develop an individualized treatment plan based on the type and cause of the pain. Your plan may include: biofeedback, e-stim or other modalities to address pain, as well as specific exercises and manual treatments designed to realign joints and strengthen or relax muscles. Your therapist will also work with you to develop a self-maintenance program to prevent recurrence of symptoms.
Pelvic floor rehabilitation services are also offered by Edward-Elmhurst certified physical therapists. To make an appointment, call the location most convenient for you.
Center for Health, Elmhurst Hospital campus
1200 S. York St.
Edward-Elmhurst Health Center
429 N. York St.
1331 W. 75th St., Suite 102
1695 Forgue Dr.
Edward Outpatient Center
24600 W. 127th St.
Bldg A, 2nd Floor
Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness Center – Seven Bridges
6600 S. Route 53
Insurance coverage for pelvic floor treatments
If your insurance plan covers physical therapy, it probably covers pelvic floor rehabilitation as well. Check with your insurance provider to confirm your coverage or call our insurance specialist at 630-527-3252.