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Voiding Disorders

Voiding disorders encompass dysfunction and urinary incontinence. Voiding dysfunction is a condition in which the bladder is not able to empty properly, and incontinence is a condition in which the bladder is not able to store urine properly.

There are two primary types of incontinence. Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is characterized by the accidental leakage of urine during activities such as coughing, laughing, sneezing, or lifting heavy objects. Urge urinary incontinence (UUI) is characterized by an urgent need to pass urine, resulting in urine leakage. Another type of incontinence is a combination of both stress incontinence and urge incontinence, called mixed urinary incontinence (MUI).

Voiding dysfunctions often exhibit symptoms such as frequency (the need to urinate 8 or more times per day), urgency (the strong and immediateneed to urinate) and urine retention (an inability to empty your bladder). Both men and women may experience this problem. In men, these symptoms also can be caused an enlarged prostate, a condition known as benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), which can cause many of these urinary symptoms and it can be present with other conditions as well.

Causes and Evaluation: Voiding problems can be caused by many conditions, including urinary tract or vaginal infections, muscle weakness, hormone imbalance, and neurological disorders. Capital Region Urology physicians employ a range of methods to evaluate these problems, beginning with a physical examination. We also can gather information through a variety of laboratory tests and imaging, including urine analysis; cystoscopy, examination of the bladder using a small scope; urodynamic evaluation, electrodiagnostic testing (EMG) of the pelvic floor, and fluoroscopy.

Treatment: Because the causes of voiding disorders are numerous, the subsequent treatments can cover a wide range of therapies, from medication such as antibiotics to control urinary tract infection, muscle relaxants to ease in emptying the bladder, and hormone treatment; catheterization; therapy techniques directed at re-educating nerves and muscles that control the urethra; and surgery including "suspension" and "sling" procedures