Urinary Incontinence: Symptoms, Treatment

Overview

Urinary incontinence refers to the involuntary leakage of urine. When people with the condition are coughing or sneezing, an urge to urinate appears, which is usually sudden and strong. Usually, urinary incontinence is associated with loss of control over the bladder. As people get older, the muscles that support the bladder may become weaker, which may eventually lead to urinary incontinence.

In general, women are more likely to have urinary incontinence than men. According to American Urological Association, millions of Americans suffer from the condition. It is estimated that 30% of women between the ages of 30 to 60 are diagnosed with the condition while 1.5% to 5% of men are diagnosed with the disease.

Causes

Urinary incontinence often has something to do aging. When people become older, the muscles that support the bladder tend to be weakened. But it is also associated with various health problems, which may include the following:

  • Weakened bladder muscles
  • Physical damage to your pelvic floor muscles
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Cancer
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Hysterectomy
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Obstruction
  • Neurological disorders

Besides, there are factors that may increase the risk of getting urinary incontinence, such as:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Family history

Symptoms

The main symptom of urinary incontinence is the leakage of urine. Overall, there are four types of urinary incontinence, which may occur because of different triggering factors.

Stress incontinence

This is the most commonly seen type of urinary incontinence. It often happens to women who have experienced childbirth or gone through the menopause. For people with stress incontinence, leakage of urine often occurs when there’s pressure on the bladder. Coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising or heavy lifting activities may cause the pressure.

Urge incontinence

People with this type of urinary incontinence experience a sudden, intense urge to urinate. Changing in position all of a sudden, hearing the sound of running water and reaching orgasm during sex may all lead to urge incontinence.

Overflow incontinence

This type of urinary incontinence refers to frequent dribbling of urine. The condition is most commonly seen in men with prostate gland problems, a damaged bladder or a blocked urethra.

Functional incontinence

For people with functional incontinence, they often fail to make it to a toilet to urinate. The condition is often caused by confusion, dementia, depression, anxiety and so on.

Mixed incontinence

This condition is a more severe type of urinary incontinence because people with mixed incontinence often experience more than one type of urinary incontinence.

Diagnosis

Getting a definite diagnosis is crucial to treat urinary incontinence. To determine which type of urinary incontinence you have, the doctor can provide different treatment methods.

In general, the doctor may first conduct a physical examination and ask about your medical history and symptoms.

Then, the doctor may conduct the following tests to determine whether you have urinary incontinence or not:

  • Urinalysis
  • Bladder diary
  • Post-void residual measurement
  • Urodynamic testing
  • Pelvic ultrasound

Treatment

Depending on the specific causes of your condition, the doctor may take different treatment measures. Generally, the doctor may treat the patient with medication, surgery, and other treatments.

Medications

  • Anticholinergics
  • Mirabegron (Myrbetriq)
  • Alpha blockers
  • Topical estrogen

Surgery

The doctor may perform the following procedures to treat the patient:

  • Sling procedures
  • Bladder neck suspension
  • Prolapse surgery
  • Artificial urinary sphincter

Other treatments

Besides, the doctor may recommend the patient to do bladder training so that you can have better control when you have the urge to urinate. Also, pelvic floor muscle exercises may be beneficial too. You can consult your doctor for more information.


Keyword: urinary incontinence.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.