Will I Have Incontinence For My Entire Life
Sometimes incontinence is a short-term issue that will go away once the cause ends. This is often the case when you have a condition like a urinary tract infection . Once treated, frequent urination and leakage problems caused by a UTI typically end. This is also true for some women who experience bladder control issues during pregnancy. For many, the issues end in the weeks after delivery. However, other causes of incontinence are long-term and related to conditions that are managed throughout your life. If you have a chronic condition like diabetes or multiple sclerosis, you may have incontinence for a long period of time. In those cases, its important to talk to your provider about the best ways to manage your incontinence so that it doesnt interfere with your life.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
It can be embarrassing to talk about bathroom habits with your healthcare provider. This embarrassment shouldnt stop you from treating incontinence, though. Often, your healthcare provider can help figure out the cause of your bladder control issue and help make it better. You dont need to deal with it alone. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best ways to treat incontinence so that you can lead a full and active life without worrying about leakage.
Keeping A Bathroom Journal
You may be asked to keep a bathroom journal before or after your appointment. In your journal, youll log all your bathroom trips and bladder leakage or issues. It can also be helpful to record what you eat and drink in your bladder journal. This record will help your doctor get a more accurate idea of your symptoms and how often they occur. Keeping a journal can also determine what triggers your need to pee or any accidents.
Bladder Incontinence In Women
Bladder incontinence is more common in women than in men. Other than the possible causes listed above, some things that may increase risk of bladder incontinence in women are:
- Changes to urinary or vaginal tissue from hormone therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, or targeted therapy
- Hormonal changes from menopause
- Pelvic prolapse the bladder, uterus, and or rectum may slip backward or downward into the vaginal canal because of weak pelvic wall muscles
Take control of your bladder
Do you find yourself struggling to make it to the bathroom in time? Urinary incontinence is a common condition. Your doctor can help you understand whats causing it and recommend a treatment plan.
Lifestyle changes can also help get your bladder under control. Learn about six steps you can take to reduce your risk of accidents and help you get back to enjoying everyday activities, leak-free.
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What Is The Medical Treatment For Bladder Control Problems
Treatment depends of the type and severity of the incontinence. Many of these treatments require a commitment on your part to master the technique and practice it daily. Discuss all of the treatment options with your health-care provider before making a decision together.
Some medications that you may take for other medical conditions can cause incontinence. Review your medications with your health-care provider. If a medication is causing the problem, an alternative may be available.
Urge incontinence: Treatment is focused on eradicating the underlying cause. If your health-care provider is unable to identify a reversible cause, the focus of treatment becomes reducing symptoms. Treatment may include the following:
- Providing a commode or urinal for urination emergencies
- Limiting fluid intake
- Behavioral therapy: Changing your habits to try to reduce incontinence
- Timed voiding and bladder training regimens: Gradually prolonging the time between urination
- Pelvic floor exercises: To strengthen the sphincter muscles
- Medications: To relax the bladder or tighten the sphincter muscles
No matter what type of incontinence you have, medical treatment can take some time to take effect. During treatment, or if medical treatment does not work for you, you have the following alternatives:
Try Pelvic Floor Therapy
Pelvic floor therapy is a type of specialized physical therapy that strengthens the muscles that support your bladder and bowels. This can be very effective in treating urinary incontinence caused by an overactive bladder.
During pelvic floor therapy, a physical therapist may lead you through exercises that target your pelvic floor, use mild electrical stimulation to help you have more awareness of your pelvic floor muscles, and use other specialized techniques. If youre interested in pelvic floor therapy, talk with a doctor about getting a referral.
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Causes Of Urinary Incontinence
Stress incontinence is usually the result of the weakening of or damage to the muscles used to prevent urination, such as the pelvic floor muscles and the urethral sphincter.
Urge incontinence is usually the result of overactivity of the detrusor muscles, which control the bladder.
Overflow incontinence is often caused by an obstruction or blockage in your bladder, which prevents it from emptying fully.
Total incontinence may be caused by a problem with the bladder from birth, a spinal injury, or a small, tunnel like hole that can form between the bladder and a nearby area .
Certain things can increase the chances of urinary incontinence, including:
- pregnancy and vaginal birth
Find out more about the causes of urinary incontinence.
Reduce Your Fluid Intake
Drinking water is good for your body, and its important to stay hydrated, but overdoing fluid intake can lead to bladder urgency and leaks. The key to healthy fluid intake is maintaining a good balance. Try to drink water when thirsty, but not more of it than your body asks for. And keep an eye on the color of your urine. If its clear, you could probably cut back on fluid intake, but dark urine is a sign that you need more fluids.
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Why Is It So Difficult To Talk About Bladder Control
Millions of men and women suffer from loss of bladder control. Bladder incontinence is twice as common in women because pregnancy, childbirth and menopause can affect pelvic muscle strength and damage nerves that control the bladder.
Many people feel embarrassed or ashamed to talk about their bladder control problems, yet many effective treatments are available. Your doctor may not ask about urinary function during an exam, so you should speak up if you are struggling with bladder control issues.
Find Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
Overactive bladder is one common cause of bladder control problems, especially among women. Doing regular Kegel exercises can help treat this condition. These exercises also called pelvic floor muscle exercises.
Kegel exercises are relatively easy to do. But before you can start, you need to find your pelvic floor muscles. The next time you urinate, try to stop your flow of urine midstream. The muscles you use to do that are your pelvic floor muscles.
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Add Variety To Your Workout
You can also try variations on this basic exercise. For example, contract and release your PC muscles quickly, several times in succession. Or practice contracting them very slowly. You can also vary your position, completing Kegel exercises while standing, sitting, or lying down.
While youre doing Kegel exercises, try not to tighten other muscles, such as your abs, butt, or thighs. Dont hold your breath either. Instead, keep the rest of your body still and relaxed, while breathing normally.
Fast Facts On Urinary Incontinence
- Urinary incontinence is more common in females than in males.
- There are a number of reasons why urinary incontinence can occur.
- Obesity and smoking are both risk factors for urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence is when a person cannot prevent urine from leaking out.
It can be due to stress factors, such as coughing, it can happen during and after pregnancy, and it is more common with conditions such as obesity.
The chances of it happening increase with age.
Bladder control and pelvic floor, or Kegel, exercises can help prevent or reduce it.
Treatment will depend on several factors, such as the type of incontinence, the patients age, general health, and their mental state.
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What To Expect From Your Doctor
In terms of an assessment, your nurse or doctor will ask you about your general health and in particular, about your OAB problem. You may be examined orally and internally, and you might be asked to give a urine sample to see if you have any obvious problems.
As part of your treatment programme, you may be asked to keep a bladder diary for roughly 3 days, which typically involves making a record of the time of each time you pass urine and how much urine was passed.
You may also be asked to take a flow test, and in some cases a post-flow ultrasound test. This involves using a special machine which checks whether you completely empty your bladder and also measures how strong your flow is.
Here is a short list of possible questions your doctor may ask and the tests they may ask you to complete:
- An overview of your medical history.
- A physical examination, which could include a rectal exam and a pelvic exam in women.
What Is Bladder Training
The bladder is a muscle, and like other muscles in the body it can be trained for better performance, says Eilber. She recommends bladder training for all her incontinence patients.
Bladder training involves going pee at set time intervals. For example, you might start by peeing every hour. If you need to urinate before the hour is up, you try to wait, using techniques like deep breathing to help. If you can’t wait, use the bathroom.
Gradually, you increase the time between bathroom trips, making your bladder more accustomed to holding a greater amount of urine. Eilber recommends increasing the time between urination by five minutes every week.
A small 2013 study found that bladder training led to decreased symptoms of overactive bladder and improved quality of life in adults with overactive bladder.
You should discuss your bladder training goal with your doctor, says Eilber.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Incontinence
The main symptom of incontinence is a leakage of urine. This could be a constant dripping of urine or an occasional experience of leakage. If you have incontinence, you might have large amounts or small amounts of leaked urine. You might experience leakage for a wide variety of reasons often depending on the type of incontinence you have.
You might leak urine when you:
- Have an urge to urinate, but cant make it to the toilet on time.
- Have to get up in the middle of night to urinate .
Pelvic Floor Training Programme
The first step is to correctly identify the muscles. Sit comfortably your thighs, buttocks and tummy muscles should be relaxed. Lift and squeeze inside as if you are trying to hold back urine, or wind from the back passage.
- If you are unable to feel a definite squeeze and lift action of your pelvic floor, dont worry. Even people with very weak muscles can be taught these exercises.
- If you feel unsure whether you have identified the correct muscles, try to stop your flow when passing urine, then restart it. Only do this to identify the correct muscles to use this is a test, NOT an exercise.
- If you are unable to feel a definite tighten and lift action in your pelvic floor muscles you should seek professional advice.
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Bladder Leaks Are Common
Defined as any involuntary loss of urine, urinary incontinence can be embarrassing, but it’s extremely common, says Brian Norouzi, MD, a urologist with Providence St. Joseph Hospital.
It’s twice as common in women than men, and increases with age, although it can affect anyone, says Norouzi.
“Likely you don’t know it but your friends and relatives have had to deal with one form or another,” he says.
Working with a doctor to identify the type of incontinence you have can help inform treatment, says Eilber.
Do Regular Kegel Exercises
Once you find your pelvic floor muscles, you can complete regular Kegel exercises to strengthen them. Simply contract your pelvic floor muscles, hold them for five to ten seconds, and relax them. The Urology Care Foundation suggests that you complete at least two sessions of Kegel exercises per day. Up to 30 contractions per session.
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Nonsurgical Treatment Options For Ui
Fortunately, there are several nonsurgical treatments for urinary incontinence. From training your bladder and pelvic floor exercises to using a urethral support device, there are different options you can try to manage your symptoms. We recommend discussing your options with a doctor before deciding on the best course of action.
In some cases, your doctor might recommend lifestyle changes to help manage and prevent the symptoms of urinary incontinence. These range from adjustments to your diet, to exercise habits to management techniques between bathroom breaks. Common nonsurgical treatments for urinary incontinence are:
Conditions That Cause Urinary Incontinence
There are several health and lifestyle issues that can make you start to leak urine. They can include:
Problems with your prostate. Itâs common for prostate issues to cause urinary incontinence. Your prostate may be larger due to a non-cancerous condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia . Your prostate may also be bigger than usual because of cancer. An enlarged prostate can block your urethra. When your urethra is blocked, your bladder has to work harder to squeeze pee out. This makes its walls thicker and weaker. That makes it hard for your bladder to empty all the urine in it.
You can also struggle with urinary incontinence with prostate cancer or after having certain treatments for it — such as radiation treatment or surgery to remove your prostate. The surgery may cause problems with the nerves that control your bladder.
Certain diseases. Multiple sclerosis is a disease that can damage the nerves that tell the bladder when to empty and can also lead to bladder spasms. Some other conditions that can damage your nerves and keep your bladder from sending or receiving the signals it needs to work correctly are:
- Parkinsonâs disease
Surgery. Major bowel surgery, lower back surgery, and prostate surgery can all cause problems with your bladder. This is usually because some of the nerves in your urinary tract have been damaged during surgery.
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What Can I Do To Prevent Bladder Problems After Birth
There are some simple steps you can take during pregnancy to help prevent incontinence.
- Drink 6 to 8 cups of fluid a day, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Avoid drinks containing sugar or caffeine, as these can irritate the bladder.
- Eat a high fibre diet with 2 pieces of fruit, 5 serves of vegetables and 5 serves of cereals/bread per day.
- Make sure you have a healthy weight.
- excessive twisting and turning activities
- exercises that require you to hold your breath
- exercises that require sudden changes of direction or intensity
- exercises that make you use one leg more than the other, or lifting your hip while you are on your hands or knees
- exercises that involve standing on one leg for a period of time
- activities involving sudden changes in intensity
- exercises that increase the curve in your lower back
Products To Help Manage Incontinence
Many people find the following products useful for dealing with incontinence symptoms:
- Pads and undergarments Absorbent, non-bulky pads and underwear are worn discreetly under clothing and are available in different sizes for both men and women. For those with mild or moderate leakage, panty liners are sometimes all thats required.
- Patches and plugs Many women are able to manage light leakage from stress incontinence by using products that block the flow of urine, such as a small, disposable adhesive patch that fits over the urethral opening, a tampon-like urethral plug, or a vaginal insert called a pessary.
- Catheters For otherwise unmanageable incontinence, a physician can place a catheter in the urethra to continually drain the bladder. Due to a higher risk of developing infections and kidney stones, catheters are usually a last resort and used only for severely ill patients.
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Managing Bladder And Bowel Incontinence
Some common treatments are:
Changes in food or drink. Increasing your fiber intake can help manage diarrhea and constipation. Drinking plenty of fluids can also ease constipation. Not drinking fluids at certain times can help manage overactive bladder and urinary incontinence.
Exercises. Kegel exercises can strengthen the sphincter muscles and pelvic floor. This can help you have better control.
Medicines. Some medicines can help control bowel incontinence. Antidiarrheal medicines can help manage diarrhea. And medicine can help bladder muscles relax to give you better control.
Keeping a bathroom schedule. Setting a regular schedule for using the toilet can give you better control. This includes attempting to urinate or move your bowels at the same time each day.
Electrical stimulation. This therapy can stimulate damaged nerves. This may give you better muscle control in your bladder or bowel.
Surgery. In rare cases, you may need surgery to repair damage to muscles or nerves.
Your healthcare provider will work with you to create a treatment plan.
Bladder Leakage 3 Things Women Should Know About Urinary Incontinence
To dispel misconceptions, a urogynecologist discusses the surprisingly common, lingering issue many women experience.
Bladder leakage. For some women, the condition runs their life from the inside, preventing them from playing outside with their kids, going to a workout class or staying the night with family or friends.
And theyre not alone. Living with some degree of urinary incontinence, defined as an uncontrolled leakage of urine, is actually common, according to Pamela Fairchild, M.D., a urogynecologist at Von Voigtlander Womans Hospital at Michigan Medicine.
She says that approximately half of all women over the age of 20 experience some degree of incontinence. This means urinary incontinence isnt just an issue that affects elderly or postpartum women, although aging and childbirth are risk factors.
But if so many women experience it, then why does the topic still seem embarrassing?
Women get the sense that this is inevitable, that its a natural part of aging and they have to live with it, says Fairchild. This false perception leaves women feeling powerless, even though there are ways to greatly improve their quality of life.
To help overcome the stigma, Fairchild shared three facts about urinary incontinence that all women should know.
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