Urinary Incontinence Specialist

Gary Harvey, MD

Urogynecologist located in Missoula, MT

Urinary incontinence, or loss of bladder control, is a common problem that affects twice as many women as men. Gary Harvey, MD, is a urogynecologist who treats women struggling with urinary incontinence at his practice in Missoula, Montana. If urinary incontinence interferes with your quality of life, call the office or book an appointment online today.

Urinary Incontinence Q & A

What is urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence involves accidental or involuntary urine leakage or loss of bladder control. This may range from occasional small leaks to frequently losing moderate amounts of urine. The two most common types of incontinence among women include:

Stress incontinence

Stress incontinence is the most common type, especially among younger women. This type causes urine to leak when you do something that exerts pressure on your bladder, such as sneezing, laughing, or lifting something heavy.

Urge incontinence

This type causes a sudden, overwhelming urge to urinate that may be followed by unintentional loss of urine if you can’t reach a bathroom in time. Urge incontinence is sometimes called having an “overactive bladder” because you may feel the urge to urinate more frequently.

Urge incontinence may interfere with your ability to sleep if you need to get up to use the bathroom throughout the night.

Many women suffer from both stress and urge incontinence at the same time. This condition is called mixed incontinence.

What causes urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence occurs when the muscles and nerves that control the flow of urine between your bladder and urethra become weak or damaged. Women are more susceptible to developing urinary incontinence because events such as pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause can affect these muscles and nerves.

Other causes of incontinence include:

  • Pressure on the bladder from obesity
  • Nerve damage from childbirth or another condition
  • Gynecologic surgery, such as a hysterectomy

Sometimes incontinence only lasts a short time and happens because of a less-serious reason, such as a urinary tract infection or taking certain medications.

How is urinary incontinence diagnosed and treated?

First, Dr. Harvey carefully reviews your medical history and symptoms and performs a physical exam. He may do diagnostic tests, such as:

  • Urine test to check for infection
  • Pelvic ultrasound to look for abnormalities
  • Urodynamics test to measure pressure in your bladder

Then Dr. Harvey recommends the best course of treatment for the specific type and severity of your incontinence. If there’s an underlying issue causing your incontinence, such as pelvic organ prolapse, treatment focuses on correcting that issue.

Other treatments for urinary incontinence may include pelvic muscle exercises, such as Kegels, or medications to treat incontinence. If conservative treatments don’t work, Dr. Harvey may recommend surgery.

To learn more about your options for treating urinary incontinence, call the office of Gary Harvey, MD, or book an appointment online today.