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Overflow Incontinence in Women

Effective treatment for overflow incontinence in women

Overflow incontinence in women isn’t a common problem. It’s more common in men. When women do experience the unpleasant symptoms of overflow incontinence, such as constantly leaking or dripping urine, they need medical care. Chronic urinary retention causes the bladder to become too full, causing overflow. Our Austin urologists help women manage and treat their symptoms, providing them with the opportunity to live full and enjoyable lives again.

Causes and symptoms of chronic urinary retention

There are several reasons that women might develop overflow incontinence.

  • Medical conditions, such as diabetes or spinal cord injuries
  • Certain medications, such as diuretics
  • Weakened bladder muscles
  • Nerve damage
  • Blocked urethra or urethral stricture disease

The primary symptoms of overflow incontinence in women are constantly dribbling or leaking urine, and frequent urination without fully emptying the bladder.

Diagnosing the problem

The first step in diagnosing incontinence in women is a physical examination. Our urologists may perform a pelvic exam. In some cases, our Austin urologists ask patients to keep a bladder diary for a few days. This involves tracking fluid intake, urine leakage and bathroom use frequency.

In addition, there are several tests available to diagnose overflow incontinence in women.

  • Urinalysis
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Cystoscopy, a procedure that allows our urologist to view the patient’s urinary tract
  • A scan called a voiding cystogram that provides a view of the bladder as it fills and empties
  • Urodynamic testing, which is a series of tests that diagnose issues and measure the bladder’s ability to store and release urine.

Non-invasive ways to manage the condition

In many cases, there are ways to help manage chronic urinary retention and the symptoms of overflow incontinence.

  • Kegel exercises
  • Biofeedback to help women learn how to properly perform Kegels
  • Double voiding, which means trying to completely empty the bladder by making another immediate attempt to urinate after feeling finished, or bearing down to try to produce more urine.
  • Bladder training, also known as timed voiding, involves making a set schedule for urination, so that the bladder never gets too full.

Treatments for overflow incontinence in women

Our Austin urologists are highly skilled at precisely diagnosing the causes and type of incontinence each patient has. The team devises a treatment plan that may include one or more of the following options.

  • Medication
  • Catheterization: either self-catheterization or a permanent catheter that our surgeons place in the bladder
  • Nerve stimulation to strengthen women’s bladder muscles
  • Surgery to remove blockages in the urethra

If women are too embarrassed to seek medical care, they may develop urinary tract infections, bladder stones or even kidney damage.

Our Austin urologists provide expert care for women with incontinence issues

Our caring team doesn’t want any woman to sit at home and suffer. We treat everyone with the confidentiality and compassion we would expect for our family and friends. Proper treatment for overflow incontinence in women helps patients avoid the isolation, depression and anxiety that they may develop due to their symptoms. Contact us for an appointment to get help for chronic urinary retention.

Dr Stacy Ong
NAU Urology Specialist