Urinary incontinence is unintentional or uncontrolled urine leakage that occurs due poor functioning of muscles called urinary sphincter which enable you to hold urine in the urinary bladder. It is more common in women than in men.
Incontinence mainly occurs when the pressure due to a completely filled bladder exceeds a certain threshold. Here are some factors that can increase this pressure and cause incontinence.
- Over-active bladder
- Blockage in the urinary system
- Mental health problems
- Poor muscle control
- Prostate problems
- Excess urine production
- Secondary causes due to underlying medical condition
Here is detailed information on 8 causes of urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence is broadly divided into 4 different types namely -
Stress incontinence: It is caused by increased pressure on the abdominal region during sneezing or coughing.
Urge incontinence: It is caused by over sensitivity of the bladder or overactive bladder.
Mixed incontinence: It is known to be caused by a combination of both stress and urge incontinence.
Functional incontinence: It is caused by rare factors like cognitive impairment.
Here are 6 reasons you could be urinating more frequently than normal.
There are several factors that are known to increase the risk of urinary incontinence. These include –
Apart from this, urinary incontinence in women is mainly found due to gynaecological factors like pregnancy, childbirth and pelvic surgery.
The symptoms of urinary incontinence can range from mild or occasional leaking to uncontrollable wetting.
With a thorough physical examination followed by a brief history of your clinical health, your doctor might detect the condition. You may be asked to perform a simple test that involves closing your mouth and nose and exhale hard to check urinary incontinence. Apart from this, your doctor might recommend urinalysis and post-void measurement to determine the exact cause of the condition.
Read about 10 conditions that ail the elderly.
Most cases of urinary incontinence can be treated with lifestyle changes and bladder training exercises but medication and other coping strategies like use of diapers (that can soak the excess urine) are also used if the problem is due to urgency or mixed incontinence.
Lifestyle changes: There are a few effective ways to put an end to your battle with leakage problems such as –
- Drink fluids in moderation
- Empty the bladder completely
- Lose weight
- Avoid drinking tea and coffee
- Stop drinking alcohol
- Treat digestive problems
- Read labels on medications
Read more about easy ways to treat urinary incontinence.
Pelvic floor exercises (Kegel’s exercises): Kegel exercise help to strengthen your sphincter muscles and are effective in treating incontinence issues. The easiest exercise is to squeeze your pelvic muscles tightly and then relax. Repeat this at least 5 times as fast as you can. Relax for 5-10 seconds, and then do it again. Read more about how kegel exercises can improve your sex life.
Bladder training: This technique involves controlling the urge to urinate by trying to hold for few minutes to delay urination. It is recommended till you urinate every few hours. In some cases, double voiding (emptying your bladder completely) is also found to provide better results.
Medications: The common medications that provide great relief for patients suffering from urinary incontinence are anticholinergics and alpha blockers.
Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation: It is a technique where the nerve at the ankle is stimulated using an electrode. This impulse in turn stimulates the spinal nerve responsible for bladder stimulation.
BOTOX treatment: In this, BOTOX is injected into the muscles of the bladder to reduce sensitivity of the bladder offering better control. Read more about botox treatment and urinary incontinence
Read about role of physiotherapy in controlling incontinence in pregnancy.
If left untreated, urinary incontinence might lead to urinary tract infections. Apart from this, this condition also impacts your personal as well as social life and increases your risk of suffering from skin infection.
Although it is not always possible to prevent urinary incontinence, with the help of few measure you can lower its risk.
- Practice kegel exercises, especially during pregnancy
- Eat a healthy diet, especially more fibre-containing foods.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid caffeine and acidic foods as they irritate the bladder