Division of Urology
Incontinence, the loss of urine or bladder control, affects more than one in three adult women. Although incontinence often causes embarrassment, it can be managed with proper medical care. Urologists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) are experts at diagnosing and treating incontinence. We understand how sensitive bladder control problems can be for women, and offer a relaxed and private setting to evaluate patients and tailor customized treatment plans.
Urologic services are available at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Main Campus in Boston, at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital in Jamaica Plain, at Brigham and Women's/Mass General Health Care Center at Foxborough, and at our newest locations Dana Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center in Milford and Brigham and Women's Health Care Center at Westwood. Discuss the most convenient location for you when you make an appointment with a patient coordinator.
Factors that contribute to an increased risk of developing urinary incontinence include:
Incontinence can be caused by multiple factors including lifestyle habits, physical problems and medical conditions. Causes of temporary and persistent urinary incontinence include:
Symptoms associated with incontinence in women include:
Some women with urinary incontinence experience minor leaks of urine while others frequently wet their clothes. The following are types of incontinence:
Tests and procedures to determine incontinence in women include:
Your urologist may recommend the following treatments for stress incontinence:
Less common procedures:
Treatment for urgency incontinence may involve:
Treatment for overflow incontinence may involve:
An easy prevention technique is to learn and practice pelvic floor exercises at a young age, before the onset of urinary incontinence. It is also recommended that women experiencing mild symptoms be evaluated by a BWH urologist. Early treatment will prevent serious future problems.
You will receive a thorough diagnostic examination and receive treatment by a board-certified urologist who specializes in female incontinence. Our goal is to alleviate or eliminate symptoms so you can return to everyday life.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital practices a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, routinely collaborating with colleagues in other medical specialties. If your urologist discovers that an underlying illness has contributed to your incontinence, you will be referred to an appropriate BWH physician for an evaluation.
Go to our online health library to learn more about urology diseases and tests.
Visit the Kessler Health Education Library in the Bretholtz Center for Patients and Families to access computers and knowledgeable staff.
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