KEZI 9 News Anchor Renee McCullough: There are two main types of incontinence. Can you describe what those are?
Dr. Melissa Edwards: The primary types are stress incontinence and urge incontinence. Stress incontinence is involuntary loss of urine usually with some type of activity, like coughing, sneezing, running, jumping. I call it the great equalizer. And, then urge incontinence, which is the more classic I can't get to the bathroom in time. I have a sudden urge to go, I can't quite get there and I'm leaking on the way.
KEZI 9 News Anchor Renee McCullough: Can you talk about the risk factors for urge incontinence?
Dr. Melissa Edwards: Urge incontinence is a bit of a mystery to us as to why it starts in the first place but we do know there are certain things that will aggravate it once a woman develops the condition. Carrying a little bit of extra weight, smoking, ingesting certain irritants to the bladder, nobody likes to hear this, but coffee, carbonation, artificial sweeteners. Diet sodas, for example are a provoking agent for a lot of women. Certain medications might cause it, and even just being a woman of habit. I always go to the bathroom when I... leave the house, come home from work. Those can be triggers, once our brain and our bladder start to conspire against us.
KEZI 9 News Anchor Renee McCullough: So, obviously cutting those things out can help. Are there other ways you can manage it?
Dr. Melissa Edwards: Absolutely. So we think about how we can train our bladder to behave differently. So, changing up our habits, strengthening our pelvic floor, so that when we get that sudden urge we can contract our pelvic muscles and avoid leakage. For those women who have tried everything... they've eliminated the coffee and the artificial sweeteners and they've got their strong pelvic floor muscles, we sometimes go to medication.
KEZI 9 News Anchor Renee McCullough: Is there anything women can do to prevent it as we age?
Dr. Melissa Edwards: Again, thinking about keeping a normal body weight, avoiding smoking, avoiding those irritants. A cup of coffee is one thing.... a pot of of coffee a day, another thing. Thinking about avoiding habits, not being a woman who goes to the bathroom at the same time every day in the same place.
KEZI 9 News Anchor Renee McCullough: Can you talk about medications to treat it?
Dr. Melissa Edwards: There are a number of medications on the market. They've been around for many, many years. There are older medications that are now generic. There are newer medications that have fewer side effects that are better tolerated so women shouldn't be afraid to try something, even if they've tried something in the past.