Incontinence Specialist

Nancy Thornton, MD -  - Gynecologist

Nancy Thornton, MD

Gynecologist located in Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Incontinence is a common problem for many women, and they often feel embarrassed that they don’t have full control over their bladder. Nancy L. Thornton, MD, FACOG, is a highly skilled Gynecologist with over 30 years of experience in helping women with incontinence and related problems. If you’re dealing with incontinence, Dr. Thornton provides effective, personalized treatment options at her practice in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Call the office today or book an appointment online.

Incontinence Q & A

What is incontinence?

Incontinence is a loss of control over your bladder, so you may find you leak a small amount of urine when you sneeze or laugh, or you could be taken by surprise with an urge to urinate that you can’t control and you don’t make it to the toilet quickly enough.

There are several different types of incontinence:

  • Urge incontinence, a sudden need to urinate and an inability to hold it in
  • Stress incontinence, pressure on your bladder causes small leaks
  • Overflow incontinence, urine regularly dribbles due to the bladder failing to empty properly
  • Functional incontinence, physical or mental impairment prevents you from getting to the toilet in time

You can also have a combination of two or more different types of incontinence, called mixed incontinence.

What causes incontinence?

Incontinence is a symptom of a medical condition or physical problem, so there could be a number of different causes. In some cases, where the incontinence is temporary, it could be triggered by consuming diuretics or certain types of medications, including:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Large doses of vitamin C
  • Chocolate and other foods high in sugar
  • Spicy foods such as chilies
  • Heart and blood pressure medications
  • Sedatives and muscle relaxants

Incontinence is also a frequent symptom of urinary tract infections (UTIs) such as cystitis, and constipation can also be a cause of incontinence.

Stress incontinence is often a result of pregnancy and childbirth, due to the pressure of the growing baby and the strain of giving birth, which can weaken the muscles that enable you to control your bladder, and may damage nerves and tissues connected to the bladder.

What treatments are available for incontinence?

Incontinence is a symptom rather than a diagnosis, and treatment depends on what’s causing the incontinence. Dr. Thornton identifies any underlying conditions that could be causing your incontinence and treats those first. There are also actions you can take to improve bladder control, including:

  • Bladder training
  • Double voiding
  • Scheduled urination
  • Avoiding diuretics
  • Losing weight
  • Eating a healthier diet
  • Practicing pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises

Additional treatment methods include:

  • Electrical stimulation to strengthen the nerves and muscles
  • Anticholinergics that calm an overactive bladder
  • Estrogen cream, patches, or rings to restore tone to urethral and vaginal tissues

Incontinence tends to be thought of as a symptom of aging and it’s true that it’s more likely to occur in older people, but it can affect women at any stage of their life. If you’re experiencing any form of incontinence, call Dr. Nancy L. Thornton today or book an appointment online.