What Type Of Doctors Diagnose And Treat Urinary Incontinence?

Doctor with elderly patient holding urinary incontinence pad
Getty Images/ADAM GAULT/SPL

Urinary incontinence—the loss of bladder control—is a common and often embarrassing problem. It can range in severity from the occasional leakage of urine when you cough or sneeze to having an urge to urinate that's so sudden and strong you don't get to a toilet in time.

If you experience incontinence, you may feel embarrassed. It can help to remember that a loss of bladder control is treatable. Call your doctor to learn whether or not you need treatment for an underlying medical condition.

What Type of Doctor Should I Call About My Urinary Incontinence?

Several types of doctors can diagnose and provide treatment for urinary incontinence:

  • Urologists have extensive training in the urinary tract.
  • Urogynecologists have received specialized training in the female urinary system, as well as related pelvic conditions in women.
  • OB/GYNs focus on diseases and conditions of the female reproductive system, as well as taking care of pregnant women from conception to after delivery.
  • Family Practice physicians and Internal Medicine doctors treat many different kinds of diseases and conditions, including urinary incontinence.

You may also receive care for urinary incontinence from nurses and other health care providers who frequently treat patients who need rehabilitation services, or who teach patients skills such as fluid management and exercises that can strengthen pelvic floor muscles.

What Might the Doctor Find?

Incontinence in women usually occurs because of problems with the muscles that help to hold or release urine.

The body stores urine — water and wastes removed by the kidneys — in the bladder, a balloon-like organ. The bladder connects to the urethra, the tube through which urine leaves the body.

During urination, muscles in the wall of the bladder contract, forcing urine out of the bladder and into the urethra.

At the same time, sphincter muscles surrounding the urethra relax, letting urine pass out of the body.

Incontinence will occur if your bladder muscles suddenly contract or muscles surrounding the urethra suddenly relax.

Source:

Urinary Incontinence In Women. NIDDK / NIH. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/uiwomen.

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