It can be an uncomfortable conversation but Dr. William Evans, a urologist on the medical staff of Lee Health, says urinary incontinence is a common health problem for men and women. “It occurs in both men and women for different reasons. It’s not just a single entity that has one cause and one treatment. There are a lot of different aspects to it.”
For women, the most common cause for urinary incontinence is urinary tract infections. “In men, many times it’s surgery. Prostate cancer surgery particularly can be a cause. Other types of surgery, radiation can cause it, infection, prostate issues other than cancer,” said Dr. Evans.
Patients may experience pain, burning, and sometimes blood in the urine. All can be a sign that there’s an issue with the bladder. “The cause is what determines the type of treatment they get. There are medications we can use for this. There are also surgical treatments,” said Dr. Evans.
Patients may also be referred to physical therapy to help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
“A lot of people have heard the term Kegel but most people don’t know necessarily how they’re doing it or if they’re doing it correctly. Basically Kegel is a contraction of this muscle and it helps close off the urethra to prevent urine from coming out of the body when they don’t want it to,” said Kristen Parisi, a physical therapist with Lee Health.
While urinary incontinence is often associated with age, health experts say it can actually affect anyone including athletes, children, or women who are pregnant.
“We have pretty good success in being able to manage this. It makes the individual feel empowered when they can take care of the problem themselves and if it, for whatever reason, comes back later in life they will have the tools to be able to manage it,” said Parisi.
With treatment, the problem can be temporary. Without treatment, the symptoms will only get worse. Doctors encourage patients to make an appointment if they are having symptoms.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.