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Urinary Incontinence

Accidental bladder leaks from urinary incontinence can keep you from enjoying activities you love. Urology and female pelvic medicine specialists at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) treat incontinence with the most effective therapies. Our care approach means you get relief faster, so you can focus on living a full life.

Urinary incontinence happens when the bladder leaks small amounts of urine unexpectedly. We understand the toll these symptoms can take on your life. You should know that bladder leakage is not a normal part of aging – and you don’t have to live with it.

Our urologists have received additional fellowship training to expertly diagnose and treat this condition, and they are skilled in the latest therapies, including Botox® injections. Our team includes both male and female urologists, and female pelvic medicine specialists.

What is incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is a set of symptoms that result from a loss of bladder control. It is involuntary, which means you can’t stop it and you often don’t know when symptoms will appear. There are several types of urinary incontinence which affect a large number of men and women, including:

  • Overactive bladder: The urge to urinate often throughout the day
  • Stress incontinence: When coughing or sneezing leads to small bladder leaks

Urinary incontinence symptoms

People with urinary incontinence may experience one or more of these common symptoms:

  • Unexpected bladder leaks, such as after you cough or laugh
  • Problems urinating, such as being unable to urinate or having pain while urinating
  • Feeling like you can’t completely empty your bladder
  • Frequent bathroom trips, especially with a strong sense of urgency
  • Recurring (returning) bladder infections

Urinary incontinence diagnosis

At LVHN, we streamline your care with what we call a “centers of excellence” approach. This means you’ll receive the right tests and treatments quickly, because our providers specialize in treating your specific concern. Our urology specialists may use sophisticated urodynamics or other tests to measure your bladder function before coming to a precise diagnosis.

Urinary incontinence treatments

We will consider what’s causing your symptoms as well as your preferences before coming up with a treatment plan. We offer a full range of the most effective urinary incontinence treatments available today, including:

  • Behavior modification: Training your bladder to go longer in between bathroom breaks can improve symptoms for many people. Limiting caffeine or alcohol may also help.
  • Medication management: Certain oral prescription medications and Botox injections may significantly improve your symptoms.
  • Pelvic floor therapy: Our physical therapists are trained to treat pelvic floor issues. They can help you maximize your function by strengthening and relaxing your pelvic muscles with certain exercises. Read about pelvic floor therapy.
  • Surgery: If your provider recommends surgery, our team has eight surgeons who are highly skilled in the gold standard, minimally invasive techniques for urologic surgery. One technique, the InterStim Neurostimulator therapy system, targets the nerves that control your bladder using a surgically implanted device. Another procedure uses a new type of sling surgery for stress incontinence. It provides lasting symptom improvement by using a patient’s own tissue (instead of synthetic). This sling provides extra support to your urethra and bladder, helping to prevent leaks. Learn more about pelvic floor surgery.