Related Conditions And Causes Of Urinary Incontinence
Fecal incontinence is light to moderate bowel leakage due to diarrhea, constipation, or muscle or nerve damage.
As described in the section above on causes of urinary incontinence, common conditions may contribute to chronic urinary incontinence, including: urinary tract infection , constipation, interstitial cystitis or other bladder conditions, nerve damage that affects bladder control, side effects from a prior surgery, and neurological disorders.
There Are Different Types
If you experience incontinence when you sneeze, cough, or exercise, you may have stress incontinence, which is leakage from added pressure on the abdomen that pushes urine past the urethra.
If you stand up and are unable to hold off on emptying your bladder before you reach the bathroom, you may have urge incontinence, otherwise known as an overactive bladder.
Many women have a combination of stress and urge incontinence called mixed incontinence. And although less likely, some women experience overflow, a rare condition which causes frequent urinary leaks due to a constant full bladder.
When To See A Doctor
Children typically develop the muscles and nerve sensations to control their bladder throughout the night by age 7.
Various health issues can cause urgency or a range of other urinary symptoms during the day or night, regardless of age.
A person should seek medical attention if they experience any of the following:
- waking up several times over the course of the night to pee
- frequent UTIs
- the feeling that it is impossible or difficult to fully empty the bladder
- having to pee so frequently that it interrupts daily activities
- urinary incontinence, or leaking
Overall, if anything related to peeing is causing discomfort or interrupting daily life, it warrants a trip to the doctor.
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What Steps Can I Take At Home To Treat Urinary Incontinence
Your doctor or nurse may suggest some things you can do at home to help treat urinary incontinence. Some people do not think that such simple actions can treat urinary incontinence. But for many women, these steps make urinary incontinence go away entirely, or help leak less urine. These steps may include:
You can also buy pads or protective underwear while you take other steps to treat urinary incontinence. These are sold in many stores that also sell feminine hygiene products like tampons and pads.
Training The Body To Pee Less Often
In some cases, doctors may recommend retraining the bladder to urinate less frequently. This involves resisting the urge to pee.
The goal is to increase the amount of fluid the bladder can hold before it triggers the urge to pee. If successful, this will extend the amount of time between trips to the bathroom.
A doctor will often develop a personalized retraining schedule, and they will typically oversee the training.
The following tips may help a person ease into the retraining process:
- staying warm, because being cold may trigger the urge to pee
- listening to music or watching television for distraction
- actively engaging the brain with a game, puzzle, or problem to solve
- reading a book or newspaper article
- staying seated or walking around, whichever resolves the urge
- making a telephone call or writing an email
The key is to engage the brain and direct attention away from the urge to urinate.
Although it is best to pee whenever the bladder is full, a person may not have immediate access to a bathroom.
The following tips can help an individual make it to the toilet in time:
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Managing Bladder Or Urinary Incontinence
Sometimes urinary incontinence can last a short time, depending on what’s causing it. But sometimes incontinence can be long-term and uncomfortable, making some everyday activities difficult to manage.
Your health care team will ask you questions to determine the type of bladder incontinence you might have. Then, you might need tests to verify the type and learn the cause of it which will help them know the best way to manage it.
- Pelvic floor muscle strengthening may be recommended. A physical therapist that specializes in pelvic floor muscle exercises can help. This might help muscle strength and bladder control get better by doing exercises that tighten and relax muscles that control the flow of urine.
- Bladder training canhelp manage how often you need to urinate throughout the day, by assigning certain time intervals to empty your bladder.
What Is Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence happens when you lose control of your bladder. In some cases, you may empty your bladders contents completely. In other cases, you may experience only minor leakage. The condition may be temporary or chronic, depending on its cause.
According to the Urology Care Foundation, millions of adults in the United States experience urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence affects women more often than men in a ratio. However, this condition can affect anyone and has many different causes.
As you age, the muscles supporting your bladder tend to weaken, which can lead to urinary incontinence.
Many different health problems can also cause the condition. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can be a sign of cancer, kidney stones, infection, or an enlarged prostate, among other causes.
If you experience urinary incontinence, make an appointment with a healthcare professional. Urinary incontinence can interfere with your daily life and lead to potential accidents. A healthcare professional can also determine if a more serious medical condition may be the cause. They may also be able to treat the cause.
Urinary incontinence is divided into three general types. You can potentially experience more than one type at the same time.
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Your Pelvic Floor Might Get Weak
When you force your bladder to constantly carry around a bowling ball’s worth of pee for hours, the muscles in your pelvic floor start to lose strength. “Pelvic floor muscles contract in a coordinated fashion to help you either release pee or hold it,” Streicher says. “But if you’re continually holding urine, you can end up with some real dysfunction of your pelvic floor muscles.” Over time, that can cause you to lose control of your bladder functions.
Don’t freak out if you feel the urge to go and your boss pulls you into her office for a quick brainstorming session when you were about to jet to the ladies’ room, or if you’re on a road trip and it’s an eternity till the next rest stop. “There’s a big difference between someone who holds it once in a blue moon and someone who does it all the time,” Streicher says. “Every now and then isn’t going to cause huge problems.”
Caring For Someone With Incontinence
So far, weve covered managing your own incontinence, but what if youre caring for an older adult? Incontinence is a common issue faced by dementia caregivers, and can be one of the most challenging parts of providing care. Research shows that:
- Those with dementia have a 2-3-fold increased chance of urinary incontinence
- The more severe the dementia, the more likely that there will be incontinence
- Urinary incontinence contributes to caregiver burden and increases the risk that someone will be admitted to a nursing home.
Steps to take
Dementia may not be the only cause of incontinence, so the first step is to look for other causes, like those reversible ones mentioned earlier .
If there doesnt seem to be any of those issues going on, then managed continence is the approach that is most likely to help. Rather than using the bladder medications, which can worsen confusion and dampen alertness, managed continence includes the use of continence products and a schedule of timed toileting .
In some cases, environmental adjustments and equipment, like bedside commodes, catheters, and urinals, can make frequent toileting easier and less disruptive, especially overnight.
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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 that’s 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.
What The Caregiver Can Do
- Encourage or help the patient with appropriate skin care after using the bathroom. Use warm water and pat the area dry.
- Help the patient keep a diary that records specific foods or drinks that may affect how frequently the patient goes to the bathroom.
- Help the patient maintain a bladder or bowel plan.
- Encourage the patient to go to the bathroom at consistent time frames during the day, like after a meal.
- Encourage regular daily exercise, as permitted by the health care team.
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What To Do About Urinary Incontinence
In this section, Ill review what you and your healthcare provider can do to prevent, diagnose, and treat incontinence.
Urinary incontinence, like most syndromes affecting older adults, is rarely simple. Dr. Wagg shared that The maintenance of continence in later life isnt just about staying dry. Its about successful toileting, and that requires quite a lot of adequate functioning of many different systems. Some of the management options depend on the type of incontinence, but there are some approaches that are likely to help in any case.
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How A Health Professional Can Help
The first health professional that youre likely to talk to about incontinence is your primary care provider, but they may refer you to another physician or professional who can better help. Urologists and gynecologists are surgeons who see men and women for incontinence, and nurse continence advisors can run specialized interprofessional clinics.
Diagnosing the cause of incontinence
What your doctor will ask about: The treatment of incontinence depends on the cause of the symptoms, which your doctor will evaluate by asking questions, doing a physical examination, and probably order a few preliminary investigations.
Your doctor will review your personal medical history, especially any history of prostate surgery for men, and for women, the history of any pregnancies and number and types of births. Lifestyle issues like smoking, alcohol intake, caffeine consumption, exercise , and body weight are likely to come up.
A careful review of the patterns of incontinence will help to determine the cause of urine loss.
To review, three common patterns of urinary incontinence are:
- Stress: if you lose urine when doing certain activities,
- Overflow: you lose urine all the time in a dribble,
- Urge: feeling an urgent need to get to the toilet that you sometimes cant meet,
In older adults, its common for there to be a mixture of more than one pattern .
Your doctor will want to know:
The physical examination
Bladder Leaks Are Common
“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.
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Limit Caffeine And Alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol have a diuretic effect on your body. That means they increase the amount of urine you produce. If youre having trouble controlling your bladder, consuming caffeinated beverages may be contributing to the problem.
To help manage your symptoms, consider limiting caffeine and alcohol, or avoiding them altogether. Coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, and certain medications are common sources of caffeine.
Mistake : Not Emptying Fully
When youre in a rush, incomplete bladder emptying can cause issues far more problematic than taking the extra minute or so in the bathroom. Similar to urine-holding, incomplete bladder emptying allows a reservoir of urine to collect that can potentially cause urinary infections. It can also increase the odds of developing another painful problembladder stones, which are salt crystals that sometimes form when urinary concentration or stasis develops.
Incomplete emptying isnt something you are always aware you’re doing, but its a good idea to make an effort to ensure you are emptying your bladder, says Dr. Brito. He says this is a particular problem for older men with prostate issues. For them, incomplete bladder emptying can lead to a smaller functional bladder capacity and subsequent urinary frequency and urgency problems.
Often as men get older, they will not completely empty their bladder. The problem there is, if your bladder’s full and you empty it halfway and then drink fluids like you normally would, it fills up more quickly, says Dr. Brito.
Sometimes educating patients to take their time in the bathroom and ensure their bladder is as empty as possible can help, says Dr. Brito. Other times, patients may need medications or surgery to help the bladder empty better.
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What Else Causes Bladder Control Problems In Women
- pregnancy and childbirth
Weak pelvic floor muscles can make it hard for your bladder to hold urine in during stress incontinence. Stress incontinence occurs when an actioncoughing, sneezing, laughing, or physical activityputs pressure on your bladder and causes urine to leak. A weak pelvic floor can also cause fecal incontinence, or bowel control problems.
From Leaking Urine To Sudden Urges To Go: An Ob
You dont have to suffer in silence there are many treatment options available.
Whether its a few drops of leaking urine or a complete emptying of the bladder, incontinence is a bladder control issue that women are twice as likely to have as men. And by the time a womanhas made an appointment to talk about what shes dealing with, she has had enough.
Incontinence can be embarrassing, super annoying, and costly. But you dont have to suffer in silence there are many treatment options available.
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Urinary Incontinence: More Common Than You Think
How to Stop Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is the involuntary and unintentional leaking of urine. Urinary incontinence can also be an embarrassing problem. As with many potentially embarrassing or uncomfortable symptoms, those affected may be hesitant to speak up or ask questions about their condition, even at the doctor’s office. Urinary incontinence occurs more often in women than in men, and it is a lot more common than you might expect. In fact, chances are that you know other people who have been affected by urinary incontinence.
Incontinence must not be a source of embarrassment when you speak with your physician. The fact is that this common condition is treatable by a variety of approaches, and not speaking up about the problem means that you won’t have access to effective treatments:
- dietary changes, /li>
Millions of women experience involuntary loss of urine called urinary incontinence . Some women may lose a few drops of urine while running or coughing. Others may feel a strong, sudden urge to urinate just before losing a large amount of urine. Many women experience both symptoms. UI can be slightly bothersome or totally debilitating. For some women, the risk of public embarrassment keeps them from enjoying many activities with their family and friends. Urine loss can also occur during sexual activity and cause tremendous emotional distress.
- at night to urinate
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
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