When To Seek Medical Help
Any instance of incontinence is reason to seek medical help. It may be a symptom of a more serious condition that needs to be treated.
Even if the underlying cause isnt serious, incontinence can be a major disruption in your life. Its important to get an accurate diagnosis and discuss treatment options with a healthcare professional.
In some cases, incontinence can be a sign of a medical emergency.
You should seek immediate medical attention if you lose control of your bladder and experience any of the following symptoms:
- trouble speaking or walking
Urinary incontinence and treatment for urinary incontinence may result in complications, depending on the cause.
These complications may include:
- Urinary tract infections. UTIs can be caused by wet undergarments against the skin. This may create an environment where bacteria can grow.
- Kidney damage. In some cases where the flow of urine is obstructed, you may experience kidney trouble or kidney failure.
- Cellulitis. This skin infection is caused by bacteria and may cause swelling and pain.
- Medication side effects. Medications used to control urinary incontinence may cause side effects, depending on the medication. Side effects may include dry mouth, nausea, hypertension, or others.
- Catheter side effects. If you have a catheter placed, you may experience side effects such as infection and trauma.
- Mental health side effects. Urinary incontinence may cause feelings of anxiety, depression, or social isolation.
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.
Symptoms Of Lack Of Bowel Control In Dogs
The inability to control bowel movements stems from a lack of communication of sorts between the brain and the colon. There can be various explanations for the problem, and the veterinarian will be able to diagnose the problem. Take note of the following signs, and relay them to the veterinarian at your clinic visit:
- Lack of anal tone
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Bladder And Bowel Incontinence
Incontinence is a loss of control of a person’s bowels or bladder which can cause accidental leakage of body fluids and waste. Incontinence can be more than a physical problem. It can disrupt your quality of life if its not managed well.
Fear, anxiety, and anger are common feelings for people dealing with incontinence. You may avoid being intimate or having sex because you are afraid of urine, gas, or stool leakage. Fear of having an accident may keep you from being physically active, enjoying hobbies, or spending extended time outside your home.
Anyone can have incontinence during and after surgery or some other treatments for cancer. Incontinence can also occur because of other non-cancer medical conditions. Be sure to talk to your health care team if you have difficulty controlling urination or bowels. Talking about incontinence can be embarrassing, but being open and honest with your health care team can help manage it.
What Is The Outcome
The outcome will depend on the underlying cause of urinary retention and whether the urinary retention has caused any damage to your kidneys:
- Some causes of urinary retention resolve quickly without any long-term problems eg, urinary retention after a general anaesthetic.
- In other cases, urinary retention will resolve once the underlying cause has been treated eg, prostate gland enlargement.
- Occasionally the cause of urinary retention cannot be cured and a long-term small, flexible tube is needed. Sometimes this can be done by regularly inserting a catheter into the bladder and then removing the catheter once the bladder is emptied.
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What Is Lack Of Bladder Control
Urinary incontinence is typically perceived as urinary leakage when your dog is relaxed or sleeping and discovered as puddles of urine where your dog has been laying. Lack of bladder control is distinct from behavioral urination such as marking, submissive urination, or housetraining accidents, as your dog will be unaware that he is urinating.
Any dog may lose bladder control however, urinary incontinence is most common in middle-aged and older female dogs of medium to large breed size.
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Surgery For Women With Cystocele Or Rectocele
Women may need surgery to lift a fallen bladder or rectum. The most common procedure for cystocele and rectocele repair is for the surgeon to make an incision in the wall of the vagina to find the defect or hole in the membrane-a wall of tissue called fascia-that normally separates the vagina from the other pelvic organs. The surgeon places sutures in the fascia to close up the defect, then closes the incision in the vaginal wall with more stitches, removing any excess tissue. These suturing steps tighten the layers of tissue that separate the organs, creating more support for the pelvic organs.
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How To Get Help For Female Urinary Incontinence
Still feeling unsure about your first step? Remember, incontinence doesnt have to stop you from enjoying daily life on your terms. Getting the right diagnosis and treatment can be a life changer.
If you think that you might have urinary incontinence, reach out to one of our primary care doctors. Well answer any questions you may have and guide you to treatment that will work for you. If specialty care is needed, well refer you to our team of compassionate urogynecology specialists.
Forms Of Urinary Incontinence That Affect Men Only
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia affects about 50 percent of men over the age of 60, and 90 percent over the age of 85 an enlarged prostate can cause sudden and frequent urges to urinate.
- Peyronies disease is the result of injury or damage to penile tissue, causing an abnormal curvature.
- Painful inflammation of the prostate gland
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When To Contact A Medical Professional
Talk to your provider about incontinence. Providers who treat incontinence are gynecologists and urologists that specialize in this problem. They can find the cause and recommend treatments.
- Difficulty talking, walking, or speaking
- Sudden weakness, numbness, or tingling in an arm or leg
- Loss of vision
- Loss of consciousness or confusion
- Loss of bowel control
Possible Treatment Options: Bathroom Assistance
Depending on the exact nature of the injury, there are several treatment options available. Some of these include:
Colostomy: For those who have damaged their rectal sphincter, one of the options is called a colostomy. In this procedure, the bowel is detached from the anal opening and attached to the surface of the abdomen. People instead void into a bag that they empty periodically.
Catheterization: Individuals who have lost control of their bladder may be able to use catheters to void in private. This might sound unpleasant, but it does allow retention of privacy.
Depending on the exact nature of the injury, there could be alternatives available.
Watch YouTube Video: Bowel Dysfunction. This video explains how physical therapy can help patients with bowel dysfunction.
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What Is Urinary Retention
Urinary retention is a condition where your bladder doesnt empty all the way or at all when you urinate. Your bladder is like a storage tank for urine. Urine is made up of waste thats filtered out of your blood by your kidneys. Once filtered, the urine moves to your bladder where it waits till its time to move through the urethra and out of the body.
When you have urinary retention, it can be acute or chronic . Acute means that it comes on quickly and it could be severe. Chronic urinary retention means that youve had the condition for a longer period of time.
The acute form of urinary retention is an emergency. In this case, youll need to see a healthcare provider right away. The chronic form happens most of the time in older men, but it can also occur in women.
Incontinence In Alzheimer’s Disease
People in the later stages of Alzheimers disease often have problems with urinary incontinence. This can be a result of not realizing they need to urinate, forgetting to go to the bathroom, or not being able to find the toilet. These tips may help:
- Avoid drinks like caffeinated coffee, tea, and sodas, which may increase urination. But dont limit water.
- Keep hallways clear and the bathroom clutter-free, with a light on at all times.
- Provide regular bathroom breaks.
- Use underwear that is easy to get on and off, and absorbent briefs or underwear for trips away from home.
Visit Alzheimers Disease: Common Medical Problems for more tips.
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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.
What Causes Bladder Leaks
There are two main types of urinary incontinence:
If you have this type, activities that raise the pressure inside your abdomen cause urine to leak through the ring of muscle in your bladder that normally holds it in. Coughing, sneezing, jumping and lifting heavy objects could lead to a leak.
Going through childbirth, smoking or being overweight can raise the risk of stress incontinence for women, Wright says. Stress incontinence in men is rare, and when it arises, its often due to prostate cancer treatment, such as radiation or surgery.
With this type, your brain, spinal cord and bladder dont work together properly to allow you to hold and release urine at the right time. Your bladder may suddenly empty itself without warning. Or you may feel like you need to urinate frequently, a problem called overactive bladder.
Some diseases that affect the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis or stroke, can cause this kind of incontinence, says Wright. In men, an enlarged prostate may be the culprit. But in many cases, doctors dont know what causes urge incontinence.
It is possible to have both types of incontinence at the same time.
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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.
How Bowel Incontinence Is Treated
In many cases, with the right treatment, a person can maintain normal bowel function throughout their life.
Treatment will often depend on the cause and how severe it is, but possible options include:
- lifestyle and dietary changes to relieve constipation or diarrhoea
- exercise programmes to strengthen the muscles that control the bowel
- medication to control diarrhoea and constipation
- surgery, of which there are a number of different options
Incontinence products, such as anal plugs and disposable pads, can be used until your symptoms are better controlled.
Even if it isnt possible to cure your bowel incontinence, symptoms should improve significantly.
Read more about treating bowel incontinence.
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Risk Factors For Urinary Incontinence
The following factors may put you at higher risk for developing UI.
Being female Women experience stress incontinence twice as often as men. Men, on the other hand, are at greater risk for urge and overflow incontinence.
Advancing age As we get older, our bladder and urinary sphincter muscles often weaken, which may result in frequent and unexpected urges to urinate. Even though incontinence is more common in older people, it is not considered a normal part of aging.
Excess body fat Extra body fat increases the pressure on the bladder and can lead to urine leakage during exercise or when coughing or sneezing.
Other chronic diseases Vascular disease, kidney disease, diabetes, prostate cancer, Alzheimers disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons disease, and other conditions may increase the risk of urinary incontinence
Smoking A chronic smokers cough can trigger or aggravate stress incontinence by putting pressure on the urinary sphincter.
High-impact sports While sports dont cause incontinence, running, jumping, and other activities that create sudden pressure on the bladder can lead to occasional episodes of incontinence during sports activities.
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Types Of Urinary Incontinence
There are four types of urinary incontinence that affect your ability to control your bladder, and you might find you have a combination of more than one.
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When To Seek Medical Advice
See a GP if you have any type of urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is a common problem and you should not feel embarrassed talking to them about your symptoms.
This can also be the first step towards finding a way to effectively manage the problem.
Urinary incontinence can usually be diagnosed after a consultation with a GP, who will ask about your symptoms and may do a pelvic or rectal examination, depending on whether you have a vagina or a penis.
The GP may also suggest you keep a diary in which you note how much fluid you drink and how often you have to urinate.
Find out about diagnosing urinary incontinence.
Why Get Treatment For Loss Of Bladder Control
Bladder control problems can be embarrassing and can cause you to needlessly cut back on the activities that you enjoy. They may also be a sign of a serious underlying health condition. Bladder incontinence may be a symptom of kidney disease, diabetes, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, multiple sclerosis , and other diseases.
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Urinary Incontinence In Older Adults
Urinary incontinence means a person leaks urine by accident. While it can happen to anyone, urinary incontinence, also known as overactive bladder, is more common in older people, especially women. Bladder control issues can be embarrassing and cause people to avoid their normal activities. But incontinence can often be stopped or controlled.
What happens in the body to cause bladder control problems? Located in the lower abdomen, the bladder is a hollow organ that is part of the urinary system, which also includes the kidneys, ureters, and urethra. During urination, muscles in the bladder tighten to move urine into the tube-shaped urethra. At the same time, the muscles around the urethra relax and let the urine pass out of the body. When the muscles in and around the bladder dont work the way they should, urine can leak, resulting in urinary incontinence.
Incontinence can happen for many reasons, including urinary tract infections, vaginal infection or irritation, or constipation. Some medications can cause bladder control problems that last a short time. When incontinence lasts longer, it may be due to:
Most incontinence in men is related to the prostate gland. Male incontinence may be caused by:
- Prostatitis, a painful inflammation of the prostate gland
- Injury or damage to nerves or muscles from surgery
- An enlarged prostate gland, which can lead to benign prostate hyperplasia, a condition in which the prostate grows as men age
Sciatica Symptoms That Require Immediate Medical Attention
While your sciatica pain can be severe and cause your leg to feel weak, the symptoms typically do not produce any long-term complications.1 Rarely, if the underlying cause of your sciatica becomes severe, it may produce troubling symptoms when your spinal nerve roots and/or spinal cord get compressed, sometimes triggering a medical emergency.
The symptoms of sciatica radiate from the lower back to the buttock, thigh, and leg. Common symptoms include pain, numbness, tingling, and/or weakness. Watch:Sciatica Causes and Symptoms Video
Below are the descriptions of two serious sciatica symptoms that must be urgently evaluated and treated:
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