Urinary incontinence is leakage of urine. This means that the person wants to urinate even if they don’t want to. Control over the urinary sphincter is weakened or lost. This is a common problem that affects a lot of people.
Urinary incontinence is more common in women than men. It is estimated that 30% of women aged 30-60 suffer from this disease compared to 2-5% of men.
Urinary Incontinence Facts
Here are some key points about urinary incontinence:
- Obesity and smoking are risk factors for urinary incontinence
- There are many reasons why urinary incontinence occurs
- Urinary incontinence is more common in women than men
Urinary incontinence is when a person is unable to keep urine from flowing out. This could be due to stress factors, such as coughing, which occur after and during pregnancy & are also common in conditions such as obesity.
The likelihood of it happening increases with age. There are exercises that can prevent this such as pelvic floor exercises, bladder control or Kegel exercises.
Treatment for urinary incontinence
That treatment of urinary incontinence depending on various factors such as the type of incontinence, mental health and general health of the patient.
You should do pelvic floor exercises known as Kegel exercises, which help strengthen the urinary sphincter and pelvic floor muscles – these are the muscles that help control urination.
- Event delay: The main goal is to control your urges. Here the patient learns how to delay the flow of urine when there is an urge to do so.
- toilet schedule: People here schedule the bathroom at a set time during the day, like say every 2 hours.
- Double discharge: It means to urinate, then wait a few minutes, then urinate again.
Urinary Incontinence Medicine
If drugs are used, then they are used in combination with other exercises. These are medicines that are helpful in treating urinary incontinence:
- Imipramine is an antidepressant.
- Topical estrogen can strengthen the tissue in the urethra and around the vaginal area.
- Anticholinergics are able to calm an overactive bladder which can help patients reduce urge incontinence
The following are medical devices that are basically designed for women.
- Pessary: A rigid ring that is inserted into the vagina and can be worn all day. This helps hold the bladder in place and helps prevent leakage.
- Bulk agent: It is injected into the tissue around the urethra, it helps close the urethra easily.
- Botox: This is injected into the bladder muscle, it is useful for those who have an overactive bladder.
- Urethral insert: Women insert the device before activity and can remove it when they need to urinate.
Surgery for Urinary Incontinence
Surgery is an option when other therapies don’t work. Women who are planning to have children should consult their doctor before making any decisions.
- Artificial sphincter: An artificial sphincter is inserted to restrict the flow of urine from the bladder into the urethra.
- The sling procedure: Here, a net is inserted under the bladder that can support the urethra and can stop urine from leaking.
- Colposuspension: Elevating the bladder can help relieve stress incontinence.
Another option for urinary incontinence
Absorbent pads: There are a wide variety of absorbent pads available to buy at the supermarket or even online
- Urinary Catheter: This is the tube that leaves the bladder through the urethra, the exit from the body that collects urine.
Causes of Urinary Incontinence
Factors in stress incontinence include:
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Hysterectomy and other surgical procedures
Causes of urge incontinence include the following:
- Neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, stroke
- Enlargement of the prostate which will cause the bladder to descend
- Cystitis which is inflammation of the lining of the bladder
It occurs when there is a blockage in the bladder. The following things can cause obstruction:
- Urinary stones
- Enlarged prostate gland
- The tumor is pressing on the bladder
This can result in:
- Fistula, when a channel develops between the bladder and the nearby area, namely the vagina.
- Anatomical defects present from birth
Urinary incontinence risk factors
Below are the following risk factors associated with urinary incontinence:
- Smoke: This will cause a chronic cough, which will lead to incontinence.
- old age: The muscles in the bladder and urethra weaken with age.
- Obesity: This puts pressure on the bladder and the muscles around it. It also weakens the muscles, which makes leaks more likely when the person is about to sneeze.
- Prostate disease: Incontinence may occur after prostate surgery.
Diagnosis of urinary incontinence
How to diagnose urinary incontinence is:
- Physical examination: The doctor will examine the vagina and check the strength of the pelvic floor muscles. They may also examine a male patient’s rectum to check if the prostate is enlarged.
- Pelvic ultrasound: This provides an image that can help detect abnormalities.
- Stress test: The patient in this case will be asked to apply pressure while the doctor will look for urine output.
- Bladder diary: The person will record how much they drink when urination occurs, how much urine is produced, and how many times incontinence occurs.
Urinary incontinence complications
Sometimes the inability to hold urine in will result in discomfort and some physical problems.
These problems include:
- Prolapse: Part of the vagina, bladder and sometimes urethra can fall into the vaginal entrance. This is caused by weakening of the pelvic floor muscles.
- Skin problems: A person suffering from urinary incontinence is more likely to develop skin sores, infections and rashes because their skin is often wet. It is bad for wound healing.
Don’t feel embarrassed because you can withdraw yourself socially which can lead to depression. Anyone suffering from urinary incontinence can consult a doctor.