Urinary Incontinence: What You Need To Know
What is Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine. It means a person urinates when they do not want to. Control over the urinary sphincter is either lost or weakened, the severity ranges from occasionally leaking urine when you cough or sneeze to having an urge to urinate that's so sudden and strong you don't get to a toilet in time. Though it occurs more often as people get older, urinary incontinence isn't an inevitable consequence of aging.
How Do People Get It?
Some of these conditions are easily treatable and only cause temporary urinary problems. Others are more serious and persistent.
- Aging - As you get older, the muscles supporting your bladder typically become weaker, which raises your risk for incontinence.
- Damage - Your pelvic floor muscles support your bladder. Damage to these muscles can cause incontinence. It can be caused by certain types of surgery, such as hysterectomy. It’s also a common result of pregnancy and childbirth.
- Enlarged prostate - If you’re male, your prostate gland surrounds the neck of your bladder. This gland releases a fluid that protects and nourishes your sperm. It tends to enlarge with age. It’s common for males to experience some incontinence as a result.
- Cancer - Prostate or bladder cancer can cause incontinence. In some cases, treatments for cancer can also make it harder for you to control your bladder. Even benign tumors can cause incontinence by blocking the flow of urine.
- Constipation, Urinary tract infections (UTIs), Kidney or bladder stones
- Prostatitis - or inflammation of your prostate
- Interstitial cystitis, or a chronic condition that causes inflammation within your bladder
- Side effects from certain medications,
- Drinking too much alcohol, caffeinated beverages, or other fluids
Kinds Of 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. For example, if you have severe arthritis, you may not be able to unbutton your pants quickly enough.
Mixed incontinence. You experience more than one type of urinary incontinence.
Your healthcare provider’s recommended treatment plan will depend on the cause of your incontinence. An underlying medical condition may require medication, surgery, or other treatments. You may also be encouraged to do certain exercises, such as pelvic floor exercises or bladder training, which can help to increase your bladder control.
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