Understanding Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence (UI) is a serious condition that bothers, discomfits, and embarrasses a large number of adults, however, this medical problem plagues more women than men. In fact, 80% of the adults who experience UI are women. What is urinary incontinence and how do we deal with it?

Types of urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence is defined as the inability to hold urine in the bladder due to the loss of voluntary control. It results in the unintentional loss of urine. UI ranges from losing a few drops of urine while coughing or doing rigorous physical activities or feeling a sudden urge to urinate before losing a large amount of urine. UI comes in different forms, namely:

Stress Incontinence – Urine leakage during physical movement

Urge Incontinence – Unexpected urine leakage in large amounts

Overactive Bladder – Frequent, and often urgent, urination

Functional Incontinence – Physical disability which leads to untimely and uncontrolled urination

Overflow Incontinence – Urine leakage in small amounts which is caused by a full bladder

Mixed Incontinence – Typically occurs when a person suffers from both stress and urge incontinence

Transient Incontinence – A non-permanent urine leakage which is caused by a temporary situation, such as infections or a new medication

Causes of urinary incontinence

UI can be caused by several factors. The triggering factors of UI which are exclusive for women alone include pregnancy, menopause, childbirth, and urinary tract infections or UTI. Meanwhile, neurologic injury, birth defects, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and physical problems associated with aging are the causes of UI in both men and women.

How to treat urinary incontinence?

It is important to note that Urinary Incontinence can be cured and managed, although no one single treatment can work for those who are experiencing it. Biofeedback and Vaginal Devices, and Behavioral treatment are treatment options that work best in either extending the time between scheduled trips to the bathroom or helping the urinary and pelvic muscles gain more control when urinating.

Oral medications can be prescribed by a doctor, provided that the patient is not suffering from other complications. Injections can also be given by doctors, specifically to those who are diagnosed with stress incontinence. Surgery and catheterization may be performed on more severe cases of incontinence.

How to prevent urinary incontinence?

The preventive measures for urinary incontinence are simple. It includes going to the bathroom when you feel that you have to urinate and practicing controlled breathing when you are really stressed. In addition to this, quitting smoking will also make you less susceptible to develop urinary incontinence. Slimming down and eating plenty of fiber-rich foods will also do the trick.

UI can be a little hard to manage but it is not impossible as long as you stick to what your doctor advises you to do and provided that you start living a healthy lifestyle.