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.
Will Urinary Incontinence Go Away On Its Own
There’s no doubt that urinary incontinence affects your quality of life. Leakages can not only irritate your skin and cause embarrassment, but constantly worrying about when one might happen next can keep you from living your life. So much so that you might plan everything you do around whether there’s a bathroom nearby.
It’s a very common problem affecting up to one in three women. If you’re experiencing urinary incontinence, you’re likely looking for answers. Specifically, what can you do to stop it?
“Urinary incontinence is a loss of urine when you’re not actively trying to urinate,” explains Dr. Fiona Lindo, urogynecologist at Houston Methodist. “It can happen without you being aware or with physical exertion, such as exercise or even when simply standing up, coughing or laughing.”
“Unfortunately, urinary incontinence isn’t likely to go away on its own. The good news, however, is that there are things that you can do on your own to improve it, and there are plenty of options for treating it,” adds Dr. Lindo.
What Your Treatment Will Involve
Your healthcare professionals recommended treatment plan will depend on the cause of your incontinence. An underlying medical condition may require medication, surgery, or other treatments.
In certain situations, they may not be able to cure your bladder incontinence. In these cases, they will likely provide steps you can take to manage your condition.
Treatment options for urinary incontinence may include:
You cant prevent all cases of urinary incontinence, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing it.
For example, try to:
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What Are The Clinical Signs Of Urethral Incontinence
The most common clinical sign is pooling or spotting of urine underneath your dog when she is sleeping or relaxed. Many dog owners report finding wet spots on the bedding or floor where their dog has recently been laying down or sleeping. Occasionally owners will report dribbling of urine while their dog is walking or after she urinates. In many instances the dog seems unaware of what is happening. It is estimated that urethral incontinence may affect over 20% of all spayed female dogs, especially large-breed dogs. Urethral incontinence is most common in middle-aged to senior, medium to large-breed female dogs although any dog may be affected.
When You Should See A Health Care Professional
You shouldnt have to wear a pad to soak up urine every day. Also ask yourself these questions:
Is the urge to urinate interfering with your work because of leaking or frequent bathroom breaks?
Do you map out where bathrooms are when you run errands?
Is incontinence interfering with your sex life or intimacy with your partner?
These are all signs of a problem, and that it may be time for you to talk with a gynecologist.
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What Is Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is the accidental loss of urine. According to the National Association for Continence, over 25 million adult Americans experience temporary or chronic urinary incontinence. UI can occur at any age, but it is more common among women over 50. Urinary incontinence may be a temporary condition that results from an underlying medical condition. It can range from the discomfort of slight losses of urine to severe, frequent wetting.
Watch Your Liquid Intake Before Bed
If you suffer from Nocturnal Enuresis, its important to cut down on caffeine and alcohol in the evening. You should also ensure you only consume fluid up to 2 hours prior to bedtime. One tip is to make sure you visit the toilet right before bed. However, you do need to ensure you do not become dehydrated.
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Products And Medical Devices
You may be able to use the following products to help stop or catch leaks:
Adult undergarments are similar in bulk to normal underwear but absorb leaks. You can wear them under everyday clothing. Men may need to use a drip collector, which is absorbent padding held in place by close-fitting underwear.
A catheter is a soft tube you insert into your urethra several times a day to drain your bladder.
Inserts for women can help with different incontinence-related issues:
- A pessary is a stiff vaginal ring you insert and wear all day. If you have a prolapsed uterus or bladder, the ring helps hold your bladder in place to prevent urine leakage.
- A urethral insert is a disposable device similar to a tampon that you insert into the urethra to stop leaks. You put it in before doing any physical activity that usually causes incontinence and remove it before urinating.
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, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and other conditions may increase the risk of urinary incontinence
Smoking A chronic smoker’s cough can trigger or aggravate stress incontinence by putting pressure on the urinary sphincter.
High-impact sports While sports don’t 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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Do The Right Exercises
High-impact exercise and sit-ups put pressure on your pelvic floor muscles and can increase leaks.
To strengthen your pelvic floor to relieve symptoms, replace high-impact exercise, such as jogging and aerobics, with strengthening exercise, such as pilates.
Pilates strengthens your core muscles, which is beneficial for stress incontinence.
What Are Other Symptoms Of Urinary Incontinence
Besides the already-mentioned hallmark symptoms of each type of incontinence, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says that other symptoms might include:
- Leaking urine without any warning or urge
- Wetting your bed while sleeping
- Leaking urine while having sex
Another symptom of urinary incontinence is urinating oftenmore than seven times per day or more than once at nightsays Dr. Sheyn.
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Bladder Leakage At Night
Bladder leakage at night can happen whether or not you feel the urge to go, so you may not always know beforehand that you have to use the bathroom. This means you may even wake up to wet sheets. Read this article on nocturia and incontinence at night to help you understand more about bladder leaks at night and treatment options.
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.
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How You Can Prevent Leaking Urine
Urinary incontinence isn’t always preventable. But there are some things you can do to reduce your risk, including:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Avoiding bladder irritants, such as caffeine, alcohol, and acidic foods
- Trying to maintain regular bowel movements, as constipation can cause urinary incontinence
- Not smoking or, if you do smoke, quitting
If you are pregnant, schedule an assessment to evaluate pelvic floor health with your ob-gyn or midwife six weeks after having a baby, advises Sapienza. If you’ve already had your baby, it’s never too late to make that visit.
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Pads And Other Urinary Incontinence Products For Daily Leaking
A simple yet effective way to manage a leaky bladder is to wear a protective pad or liner during the day.
There are specific pads available for bladder leakage, which are different than the ones youd wear during menstruation. For example, Poise Ultra Thin pads have thin, protective layers that are made specifically to absorb urine.
Results are fairly immediate but these devices arent for everyone, specifically those with pelvic infection, vaginal ulcerations, allergy to product materials, or those who cannot commit to using them regularly.
Disposable inserts, which are like tampons, are another way to prevent leakage. Poise makes one called Impressa.
There are also reusable underpants that are similar to disposable pads, but you can wash and wear them multiple times.
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Take Care Of Your Skin
There are several reasons for that. To keep harmful bacteria at bay, skin is slightly acidic, but when urine touches flesh, skin becomes moist and more alkaline.
The result is an inviting environment for bacteria and yeast , which can lead to rashes and infection.
Prevention can be simple:
- Check your skin daily, looking for rashes or other signs of irritation. Be sure to separate and check any skin folds, too.
- Wash carefully after every accident, using mild soaps or perineal washes additionally, avoid hot water, which can make irritated skin even worse.
- To avoid skin tears and even more irritation, let skin air-dry dont rub.
- Apply a cream, ointment, or film-forming skin protectant regularly to help keep urine away from tender skin.
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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Tests For Stress Incontinence
Some tests can help determine whats going on, she says. I will ask, do you leak when you cough, sneeze or exert yourself? she says.
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, it puts you in the stress urinary incontinence realm.
Your doctor will conduct a physical exam with a focus on the organs in your pelvic floor.
Other tests involve coughing or bearing down with a full bladder. This is the cough stress test and helps identify leakage on exam, Dr. Laudano says.
Pad tests may be recommended to see if you leak when you move around. There are two types: a one-hour test and the 24-hour test. After the test, the pad is removed and weighed to see how much urine leaked.
Other tests may help rule out any other potential causes of the leaking, including a urinalysis check for a urinary tract infection or blood in the urine or a bladder scan, Dr. Laudano explains.
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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.
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When Should You See A Doctor For Leaking Urine
Incontinence is common but not normal, says Sapienza. “I think suffer in silence thinking that they can’t get help, but it is treatable,” she says.
Some patients aren’t concerned with a few leaks here or there, and if it’s truly not bothering you, then you likely don’t need to see anyone, says Dr. Sheyn.
However, if you’re altering your life in order to manage symptoms, then talk to a doctor. For instance, maybe when you go to a new place, you immediately scout out a bathroom to make sure you know where to dash off to if the time comes. Or maybe you decline invitations out because you can’t be sure of the bathroom situation. Maybe you live in black leggings to hide urine leaks, something that patients often tell Sapienza they do.
You should also talk to your doctor if you’re leaking urine frequently. Besides the impact it can have on your social, work, and personal relationships, regular urinary incontinence can also lead to physical complications like skin problemsrashes, skin infections, and sores can develop from constantly wet skinand urinary tract infections. There’s this too: Chronic incontinence might be a sign of a more serious underlying condition, and that’s something you’d want to get checked out.
Leaking Urine During Pregnancy: Causes And Coping Methods
Leaking urine is a common hazard for many pregnant women. However, the problem is worse for some than others. Urinary incontinence or involuntary passage of some urine happens occasionally in many women, and more frequently in others. A womans body mass index and age are some of the known risk factors of incontinence during pregnancy.
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Do I Damage My Pelvic Floor When I Cough
Chronic coughing and sneezing can lead to a damaged pelvic floor over time. However, if your pelvic floor is already weakened, you may already present symptoms such as urinary incontinence, in the form of sudden leakage when coughing or sneezing. This can be both a perplexing and embarrassing experience for women. A sneeze can happen anywhere and at any time, but no one wants to live in constant fear of peeing themselves in public. That, or having to wear a pad or diaper as a preventative measure.
First of all, this is not your fault, and you are not doing anything wrong. The movement of pressure is the natural movement of the muscles before sneezing, coughing, or lifting weight. It can also occur when you vomit or have nausea.
The problem is, that the pelvic floor may be weak, and receiving this pressure, only weakens it further. Therefore, it is important that this area receives minimal impact during these bouts of sudden pressure.
Treatment Options For Urgency Incontinence:
- Pelvic floor physical therapy This therapy helps to retrain the bladder.
- Medications A range of medications can help you hold your bladder for longer and decrease your urinary frequency symptoms.
- Botox injections in the bladder Botox relaxes the wall of your bladder in order to prevent it from contracting when it’s not supposed to.
- Peripheral nerve stimulation This treatment uses a needle to stimulate a nerve in your foot that travels up the leg to the spine, where it connects with the bladder and calms it down.
- Sacral neural modulation In this outpatient surgical procedure, a bladder pacemaker is implanted to help control how the bladder is stimulated by the sacral nerve.
“Regardless of which type of incontinence you’re experiencing, it’s important to get evaluated simply because there are so many options for treating urinary incontinence,” says Dr. Lindo. “We always start with conservative treatment approaches, but if those don’t work, you don’t have to continue to suffer. We can help to improve your quality of life.”
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What Causes Bladder Leakage In Women
The three types of urinary incontinence and main causes of bladder leaking are:
- Stress incontinence
- Urge incontinence
- Overflow incontinence
Stress incontinence is the most common cause of bladder leakage in women and is the result of a weakened pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is the system of muscles and ligaments that form a basket of support for your bladder and uterus. The pelvic floor helps regulate the urinary sphincter, which controls the flow of urine out of the bladder. The pelvic floor can be weakened by life events such as pregnancy, childbirth or being overweight. Once weakened, any pressure â or stress â placed on the pelvic floor causes a small amount of urine to leave the bladder. This can be from coughing, laughing, sneezing, exercising or lifting objects.
Urge incontinence , also known as overactive bladder or OAB, is the result of nerve damage to the nerves in and around the bladder, either as a result of a neurological disease like multiple sclerosis or Parkinsonâs or due to previous pelvic surgery or injury. This nerve damage means that the nerves and muscles in your bladder spasm and fire off too often, sending you on a mad dash to the bathroom. This means that your bladder signals that itâs time to go even when itâs not full. The urge to urinate then comes on suddenly and intensely, to the point that you often may not make it to the toilet in time to urinate.