Thank you for visiting Richmond University Medical Center.  View our VISITOR POLICY


Urinary Incontinence

Home » Services » Urology » Urology for Women » Urinary Incontinence

Treating Urinary Incontinence in Staten Island, NY

Urinary incontinence, or a loss of bladder control, is a common condition, especially in older patients. Patients may feel ashamed of their symptoms, impacting their work or social life. They also may avoid discussing their symptoms with a physician. Fortunately, urinary incontinence is treatable. Richmond University Medical Center’s Urology Services Center offers urology services, including a focus on urology for women, and provides patients in Staten Island, NY, with a variety of options from simple lifestyle changes to medication and surgery.

Urologist reassures patient

What Is Urinary Incontinence?

The urinary tract system is primarily composed of the kidneys, bladder, and urethra. Each part has an important function. The kidneys process waste into urine, which flows into the bladder for storage. As the bladder fills, nerve signals tell the bladder to contract and the urethra to relax. This allows urine to leave the body. When all parts function properly, people can go several hours between urinating, have time to reach the bathroom, and will not leak urine.

Urinary incontinence occurs when one or more parts stop operating as they should, leading to frequent urination, involuntary urination, or occasional or persistent leaks. There are many reasons this might happen, including:

  • Constipation
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Diuretic foods
  • Bladder irritation from smoking
  • Weakened bladder muscles from age
  • Hormonal changes
  • Pressure on the bladder
  • Abdominal injury or trauma
  • Obstruction by a bladder stone or tumor
  • Prostate cancer
  • Neurological disorders

Types of Urinary Incontinence

There are two common types of urinary continence:

  • Stress urinary incontinence: This is when a person leaks upon sneezing, coughing, laughing, or exercising.
  • Functional urinary incontinence: If someone has a physical or mental impairment that prevents them from using the toilet normally, this can result in functional urinary incontinence.

Urologists use physical exams, urinalysis, bladder diaries, urodynamic testing, and ultrasounds to evaluate a patient’s condition and diagnose its cause. This information helps in designing a urinary incontinence treatment plan that addresses the issue at its source.

Risk Factors for Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is common, and it can happen to anyone. According to the Urology Care Foundation, a quarter to a third of U.S. adults experience urinary incontinence. Certain health and lifestyle factors, however, can increase an individual’s risk of developing incontinence. Patients with one or more of the following may be more susceptible:

  • Age over 65
  • Pregnancy
  • One or multiple childbirths
  • Post-menopause
  • Prostate problems
  • Poor overall health
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • A history of smoking
  • Obesity

Risk factors are not guarantees of incontinence, but they can contribute to a patient’s chances of developing incontinence. Richmond University Medical Center recommends that patients remain aware of their risk factors and contact a physician if they develop any symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence

Symptoms of urinary incontinence may vary depending on the cause and severity. Some patients experience only occasional, minor leaks. Others may lose larger amounts of urine on a more frequent basis. Depending on the unique case, patients with urinary incontinence may experience:

  • Sudden, intense urges to urinate
  • Frequent urination
  • Waking up more than twice a night to urinate
  • Involuntary releases of urine
  • Frequent or constant leaks
  • Inability to fully empty the bladder

Urinary incontinence can have a wide impact on a patient’s life. Patients may avoid activities that do not allow easy access to a toilet, or they may limit social interactions out of embarrassment. It also may increase the risk of a dangerous fall for seniors who must rush to the bathroom. If urinary incontinence is negatively affecting a patient from day to day, medical treatment is recommended.

Urinary Incontinence Treatment

Many patients assume that urinary incontinence is an unavoidable part of aging. However, there are many treatments available to alleviate symptoms and improve a patient’s quality of life. Patients are encouraged to talk to a medical provider to learn more about their options, including:

  • Diet changes: Some cases improve when patients avoid foods with a diuretic effect, such as caffeine, alcohol, carbonated beverages, fruit, artificial sweeteners, and spicy or acidic foods.
  • Bladder retraining: Consistent bathroom schedules and regular voiding can gradually increase intervals between urination, building back toward a normal cycle.
  • Kegel exercises: Certain exercises are designed to strengthen the bladder floor, increasing bladder capacity while preventing leaks over time.
  • Wearing incontinence pads: Absorbent pads are designed to catch leaked urine. They are usually no more bulky than ordinary underwear and can prevent embarrassment and provide peace of mind.
  • Medication: Some medications counteract the muscle spasms that lead to incontinence, preventing leaks and letting patients go longer without urinating.
  • Surgery: If other treatments fail to provide relief, a variety of surgeries are available to improve bladder support or keep the sphincter closed between urination.

Find Relief From Urinary Incontinence

For patients struggling with urinary incontinence, treatment is available through Richmond University Medical Center’s Urology Services Center, located at 1200 South Avenue, Staten Island, NY. Contact us to learn more about urology services from Richmond University Medical Center, or call 718-370-1400 to make an appointment.