Urogynecologist Dr. Jeanette Rivera Discusses Diagnosis and Treatment of Urinary Incontinence
Jeanette Rivera, M.D.
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Urinary incontinence, or loss of bladder control, is a frustrating problem for more than 13 million Americans. While more women than men are usually affected, men have urinary problems, too. Fortunately, there are many effective treatments for treating urinary incontinence.
"Some people with urinary incontinence may get relief by making simple changes to lifestyle or behavior," said Dr. Jeanette Rivera, a board-certified urogynecologist at Danbury Hospital and a practicing physician at Urology Associates of Danbury, P.C., with offices in Danbury and Southbury.
"If that doesn't help, start with your primary care doctor. Tell him or her you are having problems with bladder control. If your primary care doctor is unable to help, he or she will refer you to a urologist or urogynecologist."
Physicians who specialize in treating urinary incontinence in women are urogynecologists, gynecologists with extra training in urinary incontinence, or urologists, doctors who specialize in treating problems of the urinary tract system in men and women.
According to Dr. Rivera, urinary incontinence can be a symptom of other conditions of the urinary tract. Any loss of bladder control can be considered incontinence. The most common types of urinary incontinence are:
- Stress incontinence results by leaking of urine when you exercise, sneeze, laugh, cough, run, or lift something heavy, because the muscles that support the urethra weaken from pregnancy, childbirth, weight gain, and other chronic conditions including constipation.
- Urge incontinence (also called overactive bladder) is a bladder storage problem causing a sudden, desperate need to urinate. Urge incontinence is caused by spasms that occur in the bladder muscles and are usually a result of medical conditions such as neurological disorders, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, stroke, as well as other illnesses, infection or inflammation.
After a thorough medical history and testing to pinpoint the cause, strategies for addressing mild incontinence include drinking less and emptying your bladder every 2-4 hours, and strengthening the muscles around the urethra and pelvic floor with Kegel exercises (clench the muscles you would use to stop the flow of urine. Hold the squeeze for 10 seconds, then relax. Do three or four sets every day.)
Other key lifestyle factors include maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, avoiding caffeine and alcohol. "Treatment options may include biofeedback to gain awareness and control of bladder activity and pelvic muscles, bladder training (charting patterns to avoid accidents) or a pessary (device inserted into the vagina), injections or surgery," said Dr. Rivera. "For temporary relief, products such as panty liners or adult diapers and protective bedding may be useful until surgery can be done or medications take effect."
For more information about urinary incontinence, visit us at Danbury Hospital. If you are looking for a doctor, please call 1-800-516-4743.
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Western Connecticut Health Network is the region's premier, patient-centered health care organization serving residents of Western Connecticut and adjacent New York. As a University teaching organization, WCHN is anchored by two nationally recognized hospitals, Danbury Hospital and New Milford Hospital. WCHN offers a full continuum of care through its system of affiliated organizations that provide innovative preventative, primary and specialty care as well as home care.
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