Female urinary incontinence treatment in Singapore

What is female urinary incontinence?

Female urinary incontinence is when you get the sudden urge to urinate and leak urine when you don’t want to (your bladder is beyond your control). This is a common and usually long-term condition that can significantly affect your daily life. Occasionally this can be temporary e.g. during a urinary tract infection (UTI) that goes away after some time. In many women however, urinary incontinence is a long-term condition.

What cause urinary incontinence in women?

There are many causes. Some of the major causes include:

  • Weakened pelvic floor muscles: because of damage sustained during pregnancy and childbirth, weakening from ageing and menopause, obesity
  • Weakened bladder muscles: usually from ageing and nerve damage
  • Medications e.g. certain blood pressure or heart medications

There are other factors that can worsen urinary incontinence. These include:

  • Drinking caffeine e.g. tea/coffee and alcohol
  • Medical conditions e.g. asthma, chronic cough, poor diabetes control
  • Smoking

Because weakened pelvic floor muscles is a common cause, many women with urinary incontinence may also have some degree of pelvic organ prolapse – this is a condition where there is sagging of the bladder, uterus or rectum into or beyond the vagina.

Female Urinary System

What are the 4 types of urinary incontinence and their symptoms?

The major types of urinary incontinence are: stress urinary incontinence (SUI), urge urinary incontinence (UUI), mixed urinary incontinence (MUI) and overflow incontinence (OI). It is possible to suffer from more than 1 type

Stress urinary incontinence (SUI)

This is when you leak urine during physical activity e.g. when you cough, sneeze, laugh or exercise.

Urge urinary continence (UUI)

This is when you leak urine shortly after experiencing a strong urge to pass urine – that is, you are not able to make it to the toilet in time when the urgent feeling to pass urine hits you. Many women who have overactive bladder (going to the toilet frequently with the urge sensation) may have UUI as well.

Mixed urinary incontinence (MUI)

This is when you leak urine under both of the above described circumstances under SUI and UUI. Usually one type occurs more frequently than the other e.g. some women may feel that they leak urine more often during physical activity as opposed to leaking when they feel the urge, and vice versa.

Overflow incontinence

This happens when you do not empty your bladder properly due to certain medical conditions and some of the remaining urine leaks out.

Who is at risk of female urinary incontinence in Singapore?

The simple answer is – every woman can potentially be afflicted with urinary incontinence at some point of their lives. A local study performed in Singapore recently showed 1 in 2 midlife healthy Singaporean women had some form of urinary incontinence and were not actively seeking medical advice for it. This common urogynaecological condition is more prevalent than one may think.

urologist consultation

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.

Speak to our doctors about your concern today!

What happens if female urinary incontinence is left untreated?

Although urinary incontinence is not a life-threatening condition, it can impair your physical health, including difficulty in maintaining your perineal hygiene as well as increased risk of urinary tract infections if it is left untreated. In addition, urinary incontinence can severely affect your self-esteem and body image; in the long-run, this may adversely impact your social life and relationships.

Urogynae package

At ACRM, we believe that women should no longer suffer in silence from common urogynaecological conditions such as sagging pelvic organs, urinary incontinence and bladder issues. Be it after childbirth or as you mature and age, the ACRM Urogyn package works with you to provide personalised solutions for urogynaecological issues ensuring early detection and treatment of these conditions.

  • $ $350 Package excludes GST
  • Consultation with Specialist Female Urogynaecologist

    • Detailed history for symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence or other bladder issues, including any significant medical conditions or previous surgeries.
    • Physical examination to assess for presence and/or severity of pelvic organ prolapse, as well as pelvic floor muscle strength and tone.

    Pelvic (transvaginal) ultrasound

    Exclude uterus and/or ovary abnormalities e.g. fibroids, polyps, cysts 

    Bladder (transabdominal) scan

    Check for residual urine (bladder emptying function)

    Urine analysis

    Check for urinary tract infections, blood in urine

    Bedside one-on-one education

    Hands-on teaching on Kegel (pelvic floor) exercises and techniques

    Tailored treatment plan

    Customised treatment proposal for any urogynaecological issues identified

Speak to our doctors about your concern today!