Female Urology Conditions & Treatment—Dr. Jonathan Jay

I am Dr. Jonathan Jay, a board certified urologist with Advanced Urology Institute. While I am board certified in general urology, I also did fellowship in female urology, voiding dysfunction and pelvic floor dysfunction.

Dr. Jonathan Jay of Naples, FLOne of the inevitable consequences of aging in women is urinary problems. With increasing age, the pelvic floor muscles—a group of muscles that support the bladder, vagina and rectum—face the risk of damage. Since these muscles need to relax in order to pass urine well or have smooth bowel movement, their disruption may result in urinary problems, such as incontinence, overactive bladder, pelvic organ prolapse or pelvic floor dysfunction. Tension in these muscles may also lead to pain during sexual intercourse, painful or frequent urination and lower back pain.

Aging and urinary problems

As women age, they may develop and overactive bladder, which means they urinate at all hours and with little warning. Many women suffer from incontinence after childbirth, a condition characterized by unintentional leakage of urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing or jumping. Childbirth may also cause injury to the pelvic floor muscles leading to weak spots in the walls and muscles of the vagina when adjacent organs move from their normal positions resulting in pelvic organ prolapse.

Informed decision-making

Unlike other specialties, such as neurology and oncology, urology offers a range of treatments that deliver great results for these conditions. Actually, most patients do get better after intervention by a urologist.

In fact, one of the reasons I chose this profession is that there are so many ways to help rectify problems and restore normalcy to people’s lives. As a urologist, I get the opportunity to care for patients in their declining years when urologic problems are so common. I care about both their medical and emotional challenges.

As urologists, we have the ability to find your problem when you present with symptoms. Once the problem is identified, we educate you on what you need to do and talk with you about the different treatment options available. I like counseling patients; talking to them about the bigger picture and helping them make informed decisions.

And as we define these problems, educate patients and talk about the different treatment options available, especially the positives and negatives, we help our patients to make choices that they are comfortable with. Still, because we understand that these choices have risks, we ensure that we provide enough information to minimize the risks.

Most urinary problems are not life-threatening, but are quality of life issues. That means that by resolving them, we restore confidence, meaning and hope into our patients’ lives.

What does the treatment involve?

When we make choices for treating urinary problems, we prioritize the least invasive procedures in order to minimize the risks. Typical treatment begins with a physical examination and evaluation followed by a discussion of options such as physical and behavioral therapies–including exercises to build strength in pelvic floor muscles–and reducing water, alcohol and caffeine intake.

As an option for treating overactive bladder, we may recommend nerve therapy, a procedure which involves placing a needle in the ankle to transmit electric stimulation to the nerves that control bladder function. We may also recommend more invasive options for overactive bladder such as Botox injections and an implantable bladder pacemaker.

Depending on the symptoms, we may choose to manage pelvic organ prolapse using silicon or rubber diaphragm called a pessary, which is inserted into the vagina to support the pelvic floor. We may also recommend vaginal medications or muscle injections to help with pelvic floor dysfunction. But if the problem persists or worsens even with these interventions, we may explore surgery as a last resort.

Remarkable outcomes

In urology, we are fortunate that most of the problems are clearly defined, the treatment path is clear, and the results are usually good. At Advanced Urology Institute, we offer everything, from observation, pessaries and medications to surgery. Fortunately, most of our patients do well and get better after we apply minimally invasive procedures.

We understand that many women with urological problems might not know how common and treatable these problems are—a fact that keeps them from seeking proper care. So at AUI, we try to provide information to the public so that people are aware that there are solutions for even the most awkward and uncomfortable urinary problems. For more information on female urology conditions and their treatment, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

The Two Most Common Female Urology Problems

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

Chelsie Ferrell, PA of DeLand, FLA 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.

Incontinence

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.

Can females see a urologist?

There is a misconception that urologists only see male patients. In fact, over 40 percent of patients seen by urologists are female. Urologists are specialists in treating disorders of the urinary tract — the system of tubes, muscles and organs that process, convey and eventually expel urine from the body. So when women develop urological issues, such as loss of bladder control, pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence, the best doctor to treat them is the urologist. Warning signs of issues involving the urinary system include:

  1. 1. Frequent urge to urinate.
  2. Leaking urine.
  3. Frequent urination, particularly at night.
  4. Pain in the side or back.
  5. Discomfort or burning sensation when urinating.
  6. Pelvic pain
  7. Blood in urine

Apart from treating kidney stones, urologists frequently tackle the following issues in women:

1. Loss of bladder control

Dr. Chad HubsherFemales may have bladder control problems at any age. Also called urinary incontinence (UI), loss of bladder control is a common problem in women and they are twice as likely to have the problem as men. There are different types of urinary incontinence. For example, women who can’t hold urine as they cough, sneeze or exercise are said to have stress incontinence. This type of UI occurs when the muscles supporting the bladder are weakened by pregnancy, childbirth, aging or other factors.

Overactive bladder is another type of urinary incontinence that is characterized by a strong, sudden and uncontrollable urge to urinate even when the bladder is not full. Apart from the need to reach the bathroom quickly and to pass urine 8 or more times within 24 hours, overactive bladder can cause embarrassing urine leaks and compel women to avoid certain activities and things they would like to enjoy.

2. Recurrent urinary tract infections

Women are more susceptible to recurrent urinary tract infections than men because of anatomical differences. Most women will have a urinary tract infection at a certain point in their lives. The infections occur when bacteria get into the urinary tract and are often characterized by burning sensation or pain during urination, sudden urge to pass urine, blood in urine or trouble urinating. Recurrent UTIs can lead to complications and require prompt, proper treatment.

3. Fallen bladder

In women, the bladder is kept in position by tissues called pelvic muscles. But in cases where these tissues (wall between bladder and vagina) are too stretched or weakened to hold the bladder in position, the bladder may fall into the vagina — a condition known as bladder prolapse or cystocele. A fallen bladder may be caused by aging, childbirth, lifting heavy objects, menopause, chronic coughing, obesity or previous pelvic surgery, and may lead to urinary incontinence, urinary tract infections or overactive bladder if not treated. Surgery is typically required to correct a fallen bladder.

4. Painful bladder syndrome

Also called interstitial cystitis (IC), painful bladder syndrome is an uncomfortable and upsetting condition accompanied by lower belly and bladder discomfort. Patients tend to feel that their bladder is always full and often feel the urge to pass urine several times per day, even up to 60 times in one day. The condition can badly interfere with daily activities, forcing affected women to avoid traveling far away from home and to skip social events. It also can make sex painful or uncomfortable.

As urologists, our job is to figure out what kind of bladder problem a woman has, its underlying cause and the appropriate treatment for it. With the right treatment, which may include pelvic muscle strengthening exercises, medication, injections, implanted devices and surgery, most women are able to regain their bladder control and recover from their condition. And even for conditions that have no cure, such as interstitial cystitis, treatment tends to ease symptoms and boost the quality of life.

At Advanced Urology Institute, we see women with many different urological issues. Our aim is always to help them enjoy life and all activities they’d want to engage in by eliminating awkward urine leaks and the pain and discomfort associated with these conditions. If you are a woman who is tired of having embarrassing accidental urine leakage, check with us about effective treatment. For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of urological issues in women, visit the “Advanced Urology Institute” site.