How is female urinary incontinence treated in Singapore?
If you suspect you may be having urinary incontinence, you should consult a urogynaecologist, who is a gynaecologist specialising in female urinary disorders, to determine what type of urinary incontinence you have, its severity and your treatment options. Your doctor will take a detailed medical history and perform a pelvic examination to check for any pelvic organ prolapse and pelvic floor muscle tone.
Depending on your symptoms, treatment for urinary incontinence may first require an ultrasound to check your uterus and ovaries, urine tests to exclude urinary tract infection, bladder scan (to check the amount of urine remaining in your bladder after you have passed urine), and/or urodynamic testing (this is a study to check for your bladder function and bladder muscle stability).
It depends on what type of urinary incontinence you have. Often, conservative lifestyle changes are sufficient to improve symptoms of urinary incontinence. These include:
- Maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI), as obesity results in chronic increased pressure on the pelvic floor muscles and further weakens them
- Adjusting your diet or fluid intake
- Cutting down on caffeinated drinks
- Bladder training: this trains your bladder to hold more urine
- Taking scheduled toilet breaks
- Quit smoking
- Improving control of medical conditions e.g. diabetes, asthma, or changing medications after discussion with your doctor
- Avoiding constipation
- Doing pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises
Kegel exercises are important in strengthening and maintaining your pelvic floor muscle tone.
The treatment of stress urinary incontinence usually involves conservative and surgical options, while the treatment of urge urinary incontinence mainly revolves around conservative and medical options. If you have mixed urinary incontinence, treatment starts on the predominant type that bothers you the most – your urogynaecologist will be able to discuss these in further detail with you.