Urinary incontinence occurs when a person urinates even when they do not want to. This means there’s an involuntary discharge or leakage of urine. It usually happens either as a result of weakened or loss of control over the urinary sphincter. This is a common problem that affects a whole lot of people.
This condition is a common occurrence among women with approximately 30 percent of women aged between 30 and 60 believed to suffer from urinary incontinence. There are different reasons why urinary incontinence can occur, but smoking and obesity are risk factors for it.
This loss of bladder control is often an embarrassing problem and the severity of the problem varies. From occasional leaks of urine when you sneeze or cough to as much as having an urge to urinate suddenly that you’re not able to get to the toilet before letting go. While it occurs more with age, it isn’t an inevitable result of aging and for some people a little lifestyle changes or medical treatment will ease the discomfort or even stop urinary incontinence completely.
Urinary incontinence can come with minor, and occasionally leaks of urine while others could let out small to moderate amounts of urine more regularly.
There are different types urinary incontinence based on how it happens and what causes it.
Stress incontinence: this happens when urine leaks as a result of increased pressure on the bladder by sneezing, coughing, lifting something heavy or laughing.
Urge incontinence: there’s an intense and sudden urge to urinate that’s usually followed by an involuntary release of urine. This condition might be caused by infections, diabetes or neurological disorders. There’s always a need to urinate more often, even throughout the night.
Functional incontinence: this is either a mental or physical impairment such as arthritis that does not allow you get to the toilet on time.
Overflow incontinence: this type of incontinence is as a result of a bladder that never empties completely. It leads to a constant leaking of urine.
Finally, when a person experiences more than one type of urinary incontinence the condition is known as mixed urinary incontinence.
Since urinary incontinence isn’t a disease but a symptom of bad results of some underlying physical or medical conditions or even everyday habits, with a thorough evaluation by a medical doctor, the cause of urinary incontinence can be determined.
Although urinary incontinence isn’t all that preventable, there are a few things that can be done to help decrease the risk of experiencing this condition.
Try as much as possible to do without bladder irritants such as alcohol, acidic foods and caffeine
Eat diet that contain more fibre, that would help prevent constipation which is a cause of incontinence
Try as much as possible to maintain a healthy weight
Engage in pelvic floor exercises
For those already experiencing the condition, the treatment of urinary incontinence depends on different factors like age of the patient, mental state, type of incontinence and general health.
This might be all that is needed for some people in the treatment of urinary incontinence. For people with stress incontinence, limiting how you drink can help reduce incontinence and those with urge incontinence are usually advised to avoid spicy foods, carbonated drinks and caffeine. This is because these foods irritate the bladder. Generally, exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles should be done to help control the condition.
There are different drugs that can be prescribed for incontinence based on the type. One of such medications includes anticholinergics (or antimuscarintics) which is known to help prevent bladder spasms in the treatment of urge incontinence.
Devices and absorbent products:
There are also different products such as panty liners and pads to help avoid embarrassing situations.
In situations when the treatments do not offer enough relief for incontinence, surgery is usually prescribed.
You can read more about Urinary Incontinence HERE. You can make an appointment with Dr Kaur on (07) 3839 0552
This article is written to be informative and does not substitute seeking a professional consultation from a medical professional.
Categorised in: Obstetrics
This post was written by Dr Anu Kaur