Tag Archives: urinary incontinence

The Impact of Hormone Therapy on Urinary Incontinence

Have you been struggling to hold in your urine? You are not alone. According to a study published in the Journal of American Urogynecologic Society, over 60% of adult women in the US suffer from this embarrassing condition. It is known as urinary incontinence (UI) and is a common postmenopausal ailment. Some of its other risk factors include pregnancy and multiple vaginal births.  

One of the treatments you may be recommended for managing UI is hormonal therapy. In addition to treating urinary incontinence, this therapy relieves several other postmenopausal conditions, such as vaginal dryness, night sweats, and hot flashes.  

What Is Hormone Therapy? 

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a form of treatment that involves the administration of hormones, particularly estrogen, progestin (a form of progesterone), or both. A woman’s body stops producing these hormones after menopause, leading to conditions such as urinary incontinence. Reintroducing the hormones in various forms, including pills, patches, creams, and vaginal rings, can help reverse the effects of these ailments. 

Estrogen and the Urinary System

Estrogen is a hormone produced naturally in women within the ovaries. Its functions include: 

  • Keeping the vagina healthy
  • Thickening the lining of the uterus in preparation for implantation
  • Maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol in the blood
  • Assisting in curbing osteoporosis 
  • Influencing the use of calcium in the body 

HRT for Postmenopausal Women

If you are past menopause, getting a hormonal therapy prescription can boost your estrogen levels. Research suggests that it can help lower UI symptoms since more estrogen in the body leads to stronger and more elastic urinary tract tissues. 

HRT for Prostate Cancer Patients

Prostate cancer comes about due to the stimulation of cancer cells by hormones known as androgens. Testosterone is one of the most known androgens. Hormone therapy assists in killing prostate cancer cells or stunting their growth.   

HRT in Gender Transitioning

Hormone therapy helps in aligning an individual’s body with their identity. The treatment is administered to transgender individuals through a process known as gender affirmation, which blocks male hormones while activating the female ones, or vice versa, depending on your preferred gender. 

How Hormone Replacement Therapy Impacts Urinary Incontinence   

The effect that HRT has on UI depends on the kind of treatment conducted. Below is how they vary. 

Menopausal Hormone Therapy (MHT)

There are two ways of administering this treatment: 

  1. Estrogen therapy. This form of treatment helps in thickening and strengthening the genitourinary tract. By strengthening these tissues, it can lower the symptoms of UI, including stress incontinence and urine leaks.
  2. Combined (estrogen and progestin) therapy. For this mode of treatment, the impact on UI can vary. While estrogen can help reduce the symptoms, progestin can, at times, counteract the benefits gained. 

Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT)

Whereas ADT effectively slows and controls cancer growth, it may have adverse side effects such as urinary incontinence. The treatment resulting in lower testosterone levels could weaken the pelvic floor muscles, leading to UI. As a result, interventions such as pelvic exercises may be necessary in managing UI if you are getting ADT. 

Gender-Affirming Hormone Therapy (GAHT) 

The impact of GAHT on urinary incontinence largely depends on the type of hormones used in your procedure. For transgender women (assigned male at birth), the process results in reduced testosterone and thus could lead to relaxed pelvic floor muscles. As a result, you may experience urge incontinence, stress incontinence, and other forms of UI. 

For transgender men (assigned female at birth), the process results in decreased estrogen levels. It may lead to an overactive bladder and problems emptying the bladder

Hormone Therapy Risks and Considerations

While this therapy is beneficial to many women undergoing menopause and those experiencing urinary incontinence due to other reasons, it is also risky. The significant side effects associated with it include: 

  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Breast soreness
  • Bloating
  • Irregular bleeding
  • Water retention
  • Nausea 

The treatment is also known to increase the chances of the following: 

  • Blood clots and stroke
  • Endometrial cancer (only in those who still have their uterus intact and are not taking progestin alongside estrogen)
  • Breast cancer upon long-term use
  • Dementia if one starts the treatment after midlife
  • Gallstone/ gallbladder issues  

If you are considering hormone therapy, reviewing the potential risks and benefits individually with your healthcare provider is essential. 

Alternative Treatments and Management

A number of substitute treatments exist for hormonal therapy, including: 

  • Alternative medicine, such as homeopathy, acupuncture, and acupressure 
  • Bladder training
  • Herbal medicine
  • Complementary therapy, where several interventions are used alongside traditional medicine
  • Non-hormonal prescriptions, such as antidepressants
  • Exercises and lifestyle changes that can help to manage symptoms

Urinary Incontinence Treatment in Middle Tennessee

Urinary incontinence is a prevalent condition affecting many individuals, particularly postmenopausal women. Hormone replacement therapy can help alleviate this affliction, mainly through estrogen supplementation to help revive the vigor of your reproductive tract. However, this therapy has several risks, and you should only do it after consulting with your doctor to know what is best for your unique case. If you have additional questions about the impact of hormone therapy on UI or about UI in general, contact our team to speak to a medical concierge.

Overview, Prevention Tips, and Home Remedies for UTIs

At least 3 in 25 men and 10 in 25 women acquire urinary tract infections once in their lifetime. UTIs occur when bacteria from the digestive tract infect your kidneys, ureter, urethra, or bladder.

Like any disease, urinary tract infections present with an array of discomforts. For instance, they cause pelvic pain and a burning sensation when urinating. UTIs also cause a strong urge to urinate, which can be intense for people with urinary incontinence.

Understanding Urinary Incontinence (UI)

Urinary incontinence impairs one’s ability to control their bladder. Typically, this condition results from weakened pelvic floor muscles or nerve damage. Doctors may categorize it into one of the following incontinence types:

  • Stress incontinence: In this type of UI, urine leaks upon exerting pressure on the bladder. This pressure may be a result of activities such as coughing or laughing.
  • Urge incontinence: People with urge incontinence get a sudden and intense urge to urinate. The urge often leads to involuntary leakage before getting to the restroom.
  • Functional incontinence: Functional incontinence affects people with physical and mental limitations. These impairments, similarly, prevent patients from accessing the restroom in time.
  • Overflow incontinence: Patients with overflow incontinence have intermittent dribbling of urine.

Although not related, urinary tract infections often complicate UI. Patients with UTI and UI experience heightened urgency and frequency of urination. They find it hard to control their bladder.

Causes of UTIs

Escherichia coli is the major culprit for urinary tract infections. Normally, these microbes reside in the gastrointestinal tract and find their way into the urinary tract through the urethra. While UTIs affect anyone, some people are at greater risk. These individuals include:

  • Females
  • Sexually active people
  • Women at menopause
  • People with a suppressed immune system
  • Patients using a catheter

When to Consult a Healthcare Professional

While you can manage UTI symptoms at home, you should always seek a doctor’s counsel. Doctors can prescribe the right medication to prevent complications and recurrence. In particular, you should consult a doctor under the following circumstances:

  • Persistent, severe symptoms
  • Presence of blood in urine
  • Recurring UTIs

Home Remedies for UTIs

The most common remedies you’d want to try out when treating a UTI include:

1. Drinking Plenty of Water

Drinking plenty of water increases urine production. In return, the urine helps flush bacteria in the bladder and urethra. To flush out the bacteria, take at least 1.5 liters or 12 8-ounce cups of water daily.

2. Cranberry Juice

Cranberry is not a new remedy in the realm of medicine. People have used it to treat bladder and kidney infections for centuries. The juice’s medicinal value is linked to proanthocyanidins, a compound that prevents E. coli from sticking to urinary tract linings.

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps manage UTIs in two main ways. For one, it supports the production of white blood cells, which fight infections. Moreover, the vitamins acidify urine, eliminating bacteria in the urinary tract.

4. Probiotics

Probiotics reduce the risk of UTIs by helping maintain a healthy gut and urinary tract flora. These good bacteria are available in fermented foods like yogurt. Moreover, you can purchase them as dietary supplements.

5. Baking Soda

Baking soda neutralizes the acidity of urine, reducing discomfort during urination. Using baking soda as a UTI remedy is straightforward. Dissolve half or one teaspoon in a glass of water. Take the mixture on an empty stomach.

6. Avoiding Irritants

Avoid douches, powders, and personal care products with irritants when you have a UTI. The irritants can exacerbate more discomfort in the genital area. Use fragrance-free products as they don’t have harsh chemicals.

7. Applying Heat

Suppose your UTI causes pain, soak a clean cloth or towel in warm water. Afterward, use the towel to warm-compress the lower abdomen. The compressions will help soothe cramping. Always ensure the compresses are not too hot so you don’t hurt your skin.

8. Emptying the Bladder Regularly

When nursing a UTI, urinate frequently to flush out bacteria in the urinary tract. Avoid holding in urine, as that can cause more discomfort.

Prevention Tips

There are many ways to prevent UTIs. For one, you can wipe from front to back after using the restroom. This practice minimizes the risk of spreading bacteria.

Other ways to keep the risk of UTI low include:

  • Urinating before and after sexual activity
  • Wearing breathable cotton underwear
  • Avoiding tight-fitting pants

Manage Your UTIs at Home

There are many remedies for UTIs, from taking enough water to warm compresses. Some of these treatment options reduce symptoms like pain, and others flush the bacteria out of the urinary tract. 

Since the home remedies don’t treat the root cause, ensure you seek medical attention alongside using the home remedies. Otherwise, the infections could spread to the kidneys and cause complications.

If you are experiencing symptoms of UTIs or urge incontinence, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Here at the Incontinence Institute, we can help you navigate the challenges associated with incontinence.  Contact us today for more information. 

Coping with Incontinence after Prostate Cancer Surgery

Man Awake In Bed Suffering With Insomnia

Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in American men, trailing only skin cancer. Fortunately, thanks to modern treatment methods, most of the 220,800 men diagnosed with prostate cancer each year won’t die from the disease. But treatment can leave you with other problems — namely, urinary incontinence after prostate cancer surgery. That’s why you should know that the Incontinence Institute’s treatments and techniques can help you resolve or minimize this side effect.

Urinary incontinence after prostate cancer surgery falls under the category of functional incontinence. The urinary sphincter isn’t the only “gateway” controlling the flow of urine from the bladder through the urethra — the prostate normally surrounds the urethral mechanism, providing additional regulation to urination control. That extra safeguard goes away when a diseased prostate is surgically removed, often resulting in some degree of urinary incontinence for up to 8 percent of men who have the procedure.

The good news is that medicine is capable of restoring an extra measure of support in place of what it took away. Two common surgical procedures to help correct this form of incontinence include:

• Urethral Sling. If your incontinence is not severe, this minimally invasive surgery can vastly reduce or even eliminate it. After making a tiny incision, we attach a special surgical tape to the urethral bulb. This tape gently pushes the urethra downward into a position that helps prevent leakage.

• AUS. An artificial urinary sphincter (AUS) is a tiny pump system inserted underneath your abdominal muscles. The pump controls pressure inside a cuff surrounding the urethra, enabling you to “go” on command by simply pressing the area of your abdomen directly over the pump.

Depending on the degree of your incontinence, you may not need surgery. The Incontinence Institute has helped countless patients through physiotherapy, medication and other methods. If you’re a survivor coping with urinary incontinence after prostate cancer surgery, contact us today to learn about your treatment options.

About The Incontinence Institute

At the Incontinence Institute, our team of healthcare providers understand the physical and mental trials that accompany living with urinary or bowel incontinence. Because of this, we are sensitive to your situation and treat all of our patients with the utmost respect and concern for discretion.

Individual incontinence conditions, treatment and recovery times may vary. Each patient's experience with incontinence procedures and / or surgery will differ. All surgical procedures involve some level of risk. If directed to pursue surgery by your physician, prompt action is advised, as waiting may reduce the efficacy of surgical treatment. The opinions expressed in patient testimonials are by patients only; they are not qualified medical professionals. These opinions should not be relied upon as, or in place of, the medical advice of a licensed doctor, etc.

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Incontinence Institute 2009 Mallory Lane, Suite 100 Franklin, Tennessee 37067