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What You Should Know About Urinary Incontinence (UI)

Urinary Incontinence

Did you know that urinary incontinence is more common among women than men? If you have a loved one suffering from urinary incontinence, you are aware of how distressing it can be. It is one of the urology diseases characterized by the continued weakening of one's ability to control the urinary sphincter. The result is often occasional involuntary, which can occur even after something as common as sneezing. 

How do you know you have urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is caused by the weakening of the muscles that control the passage of urine. The common symptoms of the complication include leaking urine while laughing, exercising and coughing. An uncontrollable and sudden urge to urinate is also a symptom of urine incontinence.

Other patients experience frequent urination and urination during sleep.

There are different types of urinary incontinence

There are about five main types of UI. That is urge incontinence, stress incontinence, overflow incontinence, functional incontinence and mixed incontinence.

Urge incontinence is characterized by the sudden urge to urinate, followed by involuntary urination and is often caused by a neurological disorder, infection, and diabetes. 

Stress incontinence is featured by leakage when the body is subjected to vigorous exercise, laughing, sneezing or coughing. In overflow incontinence, the bladder does not empty fully, resulting in leakage after urination. Functional incontinence occurs due to mental or physical disabilities that impede mobility. As the name suggests, mixed incontinence is a combination of two or more of the highlighted types. 

Risk factors for urinary incontinence

Like most other conditions, some factors increase the likelihood of one developing UI. Obesity is one of the risk factors as extra pressure is put on the bladder and the surrounding muscles. They become weak, making leakage easy even with little physical activity. 

Chronic coughs caused by excessive smoking can also cause episodes of incontinence. Old age is also a common risk factor. Note that with age, the urethra and bladder weaken, causing incontinence. Diseases and conditions such as prostate, spinal cord injury, kidney disease and stroke also increase the risk of developing UI.

Can UI be treated?

Urinary incontinence can be treated. Worth noting also is that the treatment varies with the cause of incontinence. Often a variety of treatments are combined so that to not only treat incontinence but also to address the underlying cause. 

Muscle exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles like kegels are among the treatment options. Bladder training, which involves developing a urine timetable, double voiding and delaying the event, is also used for treatment. 

Medications such as anticholinergics are also prescribed to calm overactive bladders. There are also tons of medical devices like pessary, urethral inserts, bulking agents, and botox used for treatment.

Take away

While there are several options for treating incontinence which includes surgery, prevention is better than cure. Some lifestyle changes will go a long way in preventing the condition. For instance, you should maintain a healthy weight, do pelvic floor exercises and limit your consumption of caffeine and alcohol.