Although it can feel embarrassing to discuss them with your doctor, problems with your kidneys, bladder and other parts of the urinary system are very common and are usually highly treatable. For women, two of the most common problems are urinary tract infections (UTIs) and urinary incontinence.
Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection is an infection of a part of the urinary system which includes the bladder, kidneys, ureters and urethra. A UTI can occur when bacteria enters the urinary system, usually via the urethra. Symptoms of a UTI include a strong, constant need to urinate, a burning sensation during urination, and urine that is cloudy or pink or red-tinged and has a strong smell. There also may be pain around the pelvis. Although UTIs are usually not serious, if the infection spreads from the bladder into the kidneys, complications can occur. If you are diagnosed with a UTI, your doctor most likely will prescribe antibiotics to help clear up the infection.
UTIS are more common in women than men because women have shorter urethras. There are easy steps you can take to prevent getting a UTI. Drinking plenty of liquids, wiping from front to back after using the restroom, and urinating soon after sexual intercourse are all important preventative measures you can take to reduce your risk of developing a UTI.
Urinary incontinence, or the involuntary release of urine, is also a common problem for women, especially those who have given birth or have gone through menopause. These life events weaken the pelvic floor, making muscle control around the bladder more difficult. Incontinence also can be caused by weak or overactive bladder muscles or nerve damage.
Incontinence can vary in severity. For some women, this means only a few drops of urine being released when they cough or laugh. Others may experience a sudden urge to urinate and lose control of their bladders before they have time to get to a restroom. This can cause feelings of embarrassment and keep women from participating in activities they enjoy. Thankfully, urinary incontinence is very treatable. If it is becoming a major nuisance in your life, talk to your doctor about specific treatment steps to permanently help deal with the issue rather than addressing the symptoms.
Although problems with the urinary system can feel embarrassing, it is important to remember that you are not alone and that these issues are treatable. The physicians at Advanced Urology Institute are here to help with any urological issues you may be facing. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.