Heartbeat 03-23-14

Urinary incontinence, or loss of bladder control, affects a lot of women.

By Allison Morrison

(LUBBOCK, TX) - Urinary incontinence, or loss of bladder control, affects a lot of women.

"Am I going to have to take medicine the rest of my life? Will the surgery work? Does the surgery fail?"

Covenant's Dr. Mike Owen said he hears questions like those almost every day.

In fact, on the day KAMC interviewed him, he'd already seen a handful of patients suffering from urinary incontinence.

"Most women just don't want to be like this the rest of their lives," he said.

In his experience, he sees stress incontinence most often.

"There's a diaphragm underneath the pelvic floor to support the bladder and the urethra. Once those muscles, or the ligaments that tie those muscles together, have been stretched out, they don't go back to normal," he explained.

Physical changes, like child birth, are often the culprit.

But Dr. Owen said there are things you can do to correct the problem, from physical therapy to medication or even surgery.

"Most of these surgeries, if the proper approach is taken for the proper patient, they have a high chance of success."

The problem, he finds, is most women are too afraid to ask about it in the first place.

"It's very common, but a lot of it, it's embarrassing to the patient. It's a situation where, if you're contemplating having something like this done, you should ask your doctor all the questions. What are my options? Is this surgery going to work? Do I need to have medication, in addition to the surgery?"

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