The loss of bladder control – urinary incontinence – occurs most often to people as they reach their ‘golden years.’ One should note, that urinary incontinence doesn’t just have an effect on those who are aging. This condition can be common, and is an embarrassing situation. Incontinence varies from maybe leaking urine after sneezing or having an urge to urinate that’s so strong and sudden you don’t get to a bathroom in time. It is highly recommended that you seek medical attention if urinary incontinence affects your day-to-day activities. Most people, though, can stop urinary incontinence or at least make it less uncomfortable, with lifestyle changes or medical treatment.
As stated previously, urinary incontinence is a common occurrence for many people – from occasional, minor leaks or urine to losing small or moderate amounts of urine more frequently.
The Mayo Clinic lists the following as types and signs of urinary incontinence: “Stress incontinence. Urine leaks when you exert pressure on your bladder by coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising or lifting something heavy; Urge incontinence. You have a sudden, intense urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine. You may need to urinate often, including throughout the night. Urge incontinence may be caused by a minor condition, such as infection, or a more-severe condition such as a neurologic disorder or diabetes; Overflow incontinence. You experience frequent or constant dribbling of urine due to a bladder that doesn’t empty completely; Functional incontinence. A physical or mental impairment keeps you from making it to the toilet in time and Mixed incontinence. You experience more than one type of urinary incontinence.”
The causes of urinary incontinence can range from a medical condition or physical ailment to daily habits. This is why it is important to seek medical attention from your doctor about the urinary incontinence.
There are numerous factors that increase the risk of developing urinary incontinence. Gender plays a dominant part. Women tend to have stress incontinence more due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and other normal female anatomy issues. Men with prostate issues tend to have more urge and overflow incontinence. Age, being overweight, genetics, tobacco use and certain diseases, like diabetes, can be factors as well.
Once your doctor has discovered a cause for the urinary incontinence and what type you may be experiencing, treatment can be begin. Less invasive treatments will be implemented initially before moving on to other options.
Treatments could include: Behavioral techniques, like bladder training, double voiding, scheduled toilet trips, and fluid and diet management.
Pelvic exercises, electrical stimulation and medications could be prescribed as well.
Medical devices are available to treat urinary incontinence. Each device is gender-specified. For women, the devices are pessary types, like a urethral insert or a pessary.
A urethral insert is a small, tampon like disposable device inserted into the urethra before a specific activity, such as volleyball, that can stimulate or trigger incontinence. The insert is a ‘plug,’ used to prevent leakage.
A stiff ring, called pessary, is what a woman would insert into her vagina and wear all day. Typically used in a woman who has a prolapse, the pessary helps hold the bladder up, to prevent urine leakage.
Other Treatment Options
Interventional therapies have proven to be of a help to those with incontinence. These can included bulking material injections, botox and nerve stimulators.
Surgery is an option as well.
Pads and protective garments can be used in addition to medical treatments. Most are no more bulky than normal underwear and can be worn under everyday clothing. Your doctor may prescribe a soft tube catheter if your incontinent because your bladder doesn’t dispose properly.