Who Is At Risk For Urinary Incontinence
In adults, you are at higher risk of developing UI if you:
- Are female, especially after going through pregnancy, childbirth, and/or menopause
- Are older. As you age, your urinary tract muscles weaken, making it harder to hold in urine.
- Are a man with prostate problems
- Have certain health problems, such as diabetes, obesity, or long-lasting constipation
- Are a smoker
- Have a birth defect that affects the structure of your urinary tract
In children, bedwetting is more common in younger children, boys, and those whose parents wet the bed when they were children.
Other Types Of Bladder Leakage
- Mixed Incontinence: This label is given to bladder leakage conditions that stem from more than one form of incontinence, whether stress, urge, functional, or overflow. Women can be often diagnosed with stress and urge incontinence at the same time.
- Transient Incontinence: A transient incontinence refers to a temporary condition of a bladder leakage. It is often seen with complications after surgery, an irritated bladder, chronic constipation, and as a side effect of some diuretic and sleep-induced medication.
- Total Incontinence: A total loss of bladder function is referred to as total incontinence. This may be a result of nerve or bladder damage or disease that hinders the regular functioning of the bladder. Some cases of multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries may see a malfunction of the bladder to store urine.
Pessary Or Urethral Insert
Some women may find that they need additional support for preventing urine leakage. A small device called a pessary can be inserted into the vagina that will help hold the bladder in place.
Another medical device, called a urethral insert, can be used to prevent incontinence during specific activities that predictably cause leakage. The insert is put in place before the activity and then removed before urinating.
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What Can Be Done For Bladder Leakage
Considering this, how do you stop bladder leakage?
Subsequently, question is, what causes bladder leakage? There are many causes of UI, including: Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and the structure of the female urinary tract are reasons the condition is more common in women. Diseases like diabetes, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis can damage the nerves that control your bladder.
Beside this, what is the natural remedy for urine leakage?
Some doctors believe that magnesium could relieve incontinence because it reduces bladder muscle spasms and allows the bladder to empty completely. Include magnesium-rich foods, such as corn, potatoes, and bananas in your diet, but talk to your doctor before you start taking magnesium supplements.
How do I stop my pee from leaking when I cough?
Typically, strengthening the pelvic floor muscles is an effective strategy in treating the condition, and this will be enough to stop urine leaking when a person coughs. In some cases, however, more intense interventions, including surgery and medication, can be required.
Treatments For Urgency Incontinence
Urgency incontinence is when you get the urge to go, and if you dont make it to a bathroom, your bladder will empty. It can have serious effects on your life and your work.
Experts dont know what causes urgency incontinence, but there are different ways to approach it. First we start with behavioral changes, which vary based on your situation. Steps could include:
Weight loss again, losing even a small amount of weight can help.
Avoiding excess fluids. If youre having trouble sleeping, we talk about limiting fluids before bedtime so sleep is less interrupted.
Time voiding, which is retraining the bladder. If the patient is in the bathroom every hour, well slowly lengthen that interval so theyre in the bathroom less often.
Pelvic floor exercises, with help from a physical therapist.
Changing your diet. I review a list of bladder irritants: coffee, chocolate, alcohol, spicy foods, and other things. We have patients skip those foods and drinks for a week or two and see what their urgency or frequency is like.
If behavioral changes dont help, there are other options to explore. We can try certain medications that relax your bladder muscles and prevent leakage. Botox, injected into the muscles of the bladder, can help some patients temporarily. And there are several medications we can try, including anticholinergics, which block the impulse to urinate. This can help you get more sleep at night.
Absorbent Pads Catheters And Medical Devices
If medical treatments cant completely eliminate your incontinence, you can try products that help ease the discomfort and inconvenience of leaking urine:
- Pads and protective garments
- Pessaries and vaginal inserts a small device inserted into the vagina to help provide support to prevent leakage
Treatment For Male Incontinence
Treatment for male incontinence depends on the underlying causes, and treatment plans often involve a combination of medications and lifestyle changes. The common types of medication used to treat male incontinence include:
Alpha-blockers, which are prescribed to those with an enlarged prostate and helps men to empty their bladder more effectively
Anticholinergics, which are used to treat overactive bladders
Mirabegron, which relaxes bladder muscles in order to increase the amount of urine your bladder can hold.
Botox, which is injected into the bladder to help relax muscles
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When Should I See A Doctor About Incontinence
Its important to know that incontinence can be treated. Many people believe that its something that just goes along with aging and is an unavoidable issue. If you find that incontinence is disturbing your daily activities and causing you to miss out on things you typically enjoy, talk to your healthcare provider. There are a wide range of options to treat incontinence.
Male Pelvic Floor Muscles
If either medicine or physiotherapy dont work, surgery to support your bladder and urethra is an option for some types of urinary incontinence.
There are also things you can do to reduce the impact of urinary incontinence. You can train your bladder to improve control and increase the amount of urine you can hold. Talk to your doctor or incontinence health professional about a bladder training program.
If you are caring for someone with incontinence, make sure they can access the toilet easily and that its clearly signposted. Make sure their clothing is easy to remove and monitor their routine so you can remind them to go to the toilet regularly. You can read more about caring for someone with incontinence on the Continence Foundation of Australia website.
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When To Consider Meds
If you have urge incontinence and have tried nondrug measures for several months but symptoms are still interfering with your quality of life, you might consider adding medication.
There is a role for these drugs, Hochman says, but typically only after trying safer treatments first.
How do they work? In some people with urge incontinence, the bladder muscles contract at the wrong time, causing the uncomfortable feeling of urgency and often leaks. Drugs used to treat the condition relax the bladder muscles, which can increase the storage size of the bladder and reduce the urge to urinate.
Based on analysis of the evidence by CR Best Buy Drugs, none of the drugs clearly works better than the others.
If you and your doctor conclude that one is worth trying, consider generic prescription extended-release oxybutynin. It costs about twice as much as the short-acting drug if youre paying out-of-pocket but offers the convenience of once-a-day dosing.
In addition, research suggests that it has a somewhat lower risk of side effects than other forms of the drug, including the OTC patch, as well as some other bladder drugs, including short-acting tolterodine.
Watch closely for side effects, particularly memory problems or confusion, which can be subtle, Hochman says. Because of those risks, our experts advise against the drugs for anyone diagnosed with dementia.
If symptoms havent improved after eight weeks, ask your doctor about adjusting the dose or trying a different option.
Urinary Incontinence In Men
Bladder leakage in men can be caused by a birth defect of the urinary tract.
Men also have the risk of contracting urinary incontinence with a history of prostate cancer. The treatment from radiation and medication may result in temporary or permanent bladder leakage.
An enlarged prostate without cancer cells may lead to a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. This condition causes the prostate to expand and apply pressure to the urethra, resulting in the walls of the bladder also expanding and thickening. Over time, the bladder weakens and retains some volume after urination.
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How To Prevent A Leaky Bladder
- Limit or avoid excess caffeine intake through coffee, tea, and carbonated beverages.
- Perform Kegel exercises on regular basis to maintain strength of pelvic floor muscles.
- Avoid fluid intake for several hours before bedtime.
- Limit fluid intake throughout the day, but keep hydrated.
- Avoid smoking as tobacco use increases risk of bladder cancer, which can cause bladder leaks.
- Maintain a healthy weight as obesity can lead to bladder leakage.
- Urinate after sexual intercourse to eliminate bacteria from the urethra.
- Limit or avoid spicy foods, acidic foods, and artificial sweeteners, as they increase fluid output.
- Use caution with diuretics to prevent bladder leakage from frequent urination.
Types Of Urinary Incontinence
There are different types of incontinence:
- Stress incontinence occurs when urine leaks as pressure is put on the bladder, for example, during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting heavy objects. Its the most common type of bladder control problem in younger and middle-age women. It may begin around the time of menopause.
- Urge incontinence happens when people have a sudden need to urinate and cannot hold their urine long enough to get to the toilet. It may be a problem for people who have diabetes, Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, multiple sclerosis, or stroke.
- Overflow incontinence happens when small amounts of urine leak from a bladder that is always full. A man can have trouble emptying his bladder if an enlarged prostate is blocking the urethra. Diabetes and spinal cord injuries can also cause this type of incontinence.
- Functional incontinence occurs in many older people who have normal bladder control. They just have a problem getting to the toilet because of arthritis or other disorders that make it hard to move quickly.
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Causes Of Total Incontinence
Total incontinence occurs when your bladder cannot store any urine at all. It can result in you either passing large amounts of urine constantly, or passing urine occasionally with frequent leaking.
Total incontinence can be caused by:
- a problem with your bladder from birth
- injury to your spinal cord, which can disrupt the nerve signals between your brain and your bladder
- a bladder fistula, which is a small tunnel-like hole that can form between the bladder and a nearby area, such as the vagina, in women
Treatment For Urinary Incontinence
Today, there are more treatments for urinary incontinence than ever before. The choice of treatment depends on the type of bladder control problem you have, how serious it is, and what best fits your lifestyle. As a general rule, the simplest and safest treatments should be tried first.
Bladder control training may help you get better control of your bladder. Your doctor may suggest you try the following:
- Pelvic muscle exercises work the muscles that you use to stop urinating. Making these muscles stronger helps you hold urine in your bladder longer. Learn more about pelvic floor exercises and how to do them.
- Biofeedback uses sensors to make you aware of signals from your body. This may help you regain control over the muscles in your bladder and urethra. Biofeedback can be helpful when learning pelvic muscle exercises.
- Timed voiding may help you control your bladder. In timed voiding, you urinate on a set schedule, for example, every hour. You can slowly extend the time between bathroom trips. When timed voiding is combined with biofeedback and pelvic muscle exercises, you may find it easier to control urge and overflow incontinence.
- Lifestyle changes may help with incontinence. Losing weight, quitting smoking, saying no to alcohol, drinking less caffeine , preventing constipation and avoiding lifting heavy objects may help with incontinence. Choosing water instead of other drinks and limiting drinks before bedtime may also help.
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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 .
Urge Incontinence & Overactive Bladder
Urge incontinence, sometimes known as overactive bladder, is a sudden, strong need to urinate that is often accompanied by accidental leakage of large amounts of urine. Frequent urination, both day and night, is also a sign of urge incontinence.
Women with an overactive bladder may not experience leakage, but have such frequent need to urinate that it interrupts their daily life.
With urge incontinence, the muscles of the bladder spasm or contract, forcing urine past the sphincter muscles around the tube that urine flows out of . Pregnancy, childbirth, obesity, and urinary tract infections all increase a womanâs chance of developing urge incontinence. Urge incontinence is also common among the elderly.
Urge incontinence may have no known cause, or may occur due to nerve damage from other medical conditions like multiple sclerosis, Parkinsonâs disease, diabetes, or stroke. Spinal cord damage or bladder irritation can also be causes of urge incontinence.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Urinary Incontinence In Women
What happens if urinary incontinence is left untreated?What happens if urinary incontinence is left untreated?
Having urinary incontinence may affect your life in many areas. It can cause problems with work and leisure activities and lead to problems in your relationships and sex life. You may feel less like going out and become socially isolated, anxious and even depressed. Many women dont seek medical help, perhaps because they feel embarrassed. But theres a lot of help available, and things that you can do yourself to help improve your symptoms. For more information, see our sections on self-help and treatment.
Medication For Stress Incontinence
If stress incontinence does not significantly improve, surgery for urinary incontinence will often be recommended as the next step.
However, if you are unsuitable for surgery or you want to avoid having an operation, you may benefit from a medication called duloxetine. This can help increase the muscle tone of the urethra, which should help keep it closed.
You will need to take duloxetine by mouth twice a day and will be assessed after two to four weeks to see if the medicine is beneficial or if it is causing any side effects.
Possible side effects of duloxetine can include:
Do not suddenly stop taking duloxetine as this can also cause unpleasant effects. Your GP will reduce your dose gradually.
Duloxetine is not suitable for everyone, however, so your GP will discuss any other medical conditions you have to determine if you can take it.
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Tips For Living With Urinary Incontinence
With a little planning, you can manage your urinary incontinence so it doesnt affect your life too much. There are many products available to help you live with incontinence, such as pads, catheters or bedding protection. Some of these are subsidised by the government.
It can help to get into a routine. Plan for outings, make sure you have enough products and spare clothes in case you have an accident, and know how to find the nearest toilet. Its also a good idea to work out how your diet and fluids affect your symptoms.
Pelvic Floor Muscle Training
Your pelvic floor muscles are the muscles you use to control the flow of urine as you urinate. They surround the bladder and urethra .
Weak or damaged pelvic floor muscles can cause urinary incontinence, so exercising these muscles is often recommended.
Your GP may refer you to a specialist to start a programme of pelvic floor muscle training.
Your specialist will assess whether you are able to squeeze your pelvic floor muscles and by how much. If you can contract your pelvic floor muscles, you will be given an individual exercise programme based on your assessment.
Your programme should include doing a minimum of eight muscle contractions at least three times a day and doing the recommended exercises for at least three months. If the exercises are helping after this time, you can keep on doing them.
Research suggests that women who complete pelvic floor muscle training experience fewer leaking episodes and report a better quality of life.
In men, some studies have shown that pelvic floor muscle training can reduce urinary incontinence particularly after surgery to remove the prostate gland.
For more information:
- Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecology Physiotherapy : The Pelvic Floor Mucles – a Guide for Women
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