It is estimated that urinary incontinence affects one out of four women in the United States and can have a significant impact on quality of life. A new service available at St. Francis Family Health Care can help women to evaluate the cause of bladder problems and take corrective action.
Since December, a urodynamics testing service is now offered at St. Francis Family Health Care once a month through the Bladder Health Network.
Urodynamics is a study that assesses how the bladder and urethra are performing their job of storing and releasing urine. In other words, procedures are conducted to check bladder flow, pressure and if bladder completely empties.
“Testing is important because urinary problems have different causes and are treated differently depending upon the cause,” explains Dr. Jane Dawson, obstetrician and gynecologist at St. Francis Family Health Care. “Patients can be treated with medicine, physical therapy, surgery or lifestyle changes depending on the results of the testing.”
Symptoms include leaking, difficulty emptying the bladder, frequent urination, recurrent infections and loss of bladder support. According to Dr. Dawson, diabetes, previous pregnancies, and a history of lots of lifting are among the causes of problems.
Symptoms reported by the patient can help guide to the causes of the problems. ”Before testing was available, treatment was based on what the patient told us,” Dr. Dawson says.” Now a patient’s treatment can be tailored more precisely to the actual cause which improves the results.”
Urodynamics employs sophisticated equipment to measure the amount of pressure experienced by the bladder and urethra in order to evaluate the function and efficiency of a patient's urinary system.
“The equipment provides lots of data,” Dr. Dawson says. “The analysis is professional and supplies a complete detailed report that is read by an experienced professional. It also helps guide consideration for the best options for treatment.”
Women with urinary incontinence often fail to receive appropriate treatment for their condition. As a result, they frequently give up participating in favorite activities, exercise and travel. Many women, out of embarrassment, do not seek medical attention. Some believe that incontinence is a normal if inconvenient part of the aging process, with little remedy.
“While incontinence is a common problem, it is not normal, at any age,” states Dr. Dawson.
A referral is necessary to schedule a patient with the urodynamics testing service so the first step is to talk to a healthcare provider about the problem.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call St. Francis Family Health Care at (660) 562-2525.