Urinary Incontinence and its Management
What is Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary Incontinence (UI) is a condition where an individual urinates involuntarily. This is commonly related with the urinary bladder muscle weakening. When urinary bladder is filled with urine it sends a signal and this leads to urination. A normal human being urinates approximately 7 times per day though it varies with respect to climate and each individual. The weakening of the urinary bladder may lead to a mild leakage of urine to uncontrollable urination. UI is commonly observed in older individual and the women are susceptible to the condition compared to men. UI is not a disease but it can be a symptom of serious illness like neurological disorder or diabetes. UI can lead to complications like urinary tract infections, skin problems and it may also cause a negative impact on your social life.
Types of Urinary incontinence
Stress incontinence: when urinary bladder is under some physical pressure it leads to the leak of urine like coughing or sneezing.
Urge incontinence: You have an urge to urinate after an involuntary urination and this is also occurring with frequent urination.
Overflow incontinence: When you urinate your bladder does not get emptied and this leads to continues dribbling of urine.
It is possible that you may experience all three types of incontinence together this condition is called as mixed incontinence.
What can be the possible causes?
• Aging can lead to muscle weakening, urinary bladder also gets weakened and this causes incontinence.
• Pregnancy is a reason behind stress incontinence. Womb with the fetus causes a pressure on the urinary bladder.
• Childbirth, during the time of delivery tissues and nerves related to the urinary bladder, gets damaged. Damaged nerve endings can lead to improper urination signals and this causes incontinence. Damage of nerves and tissues happen when there is a surgery related to the reproductive system of both men and women.
• Diabetes causes increased thirst and higher consumption of water leads to frequent urination. Diabetes can also trigger serious health conditions like autonomic neuropathy and this may damage urinary bladder nerves.
• Menopause leads to a fall in estrogen and decreased estrogen level reduces the muscle strength.
• Obesity or increased weight in the abdomen exerts pressure on urinary bladder leading to a frequent urination.
• Prostate gland enlargement in men causes stress incontinence. Usually, prostate enlargement occurs in older men. Stress and weakening of bladder muscle together can worsen the situation.
How to manage urinary incontinence?
Consult a doctor as early as possible when you experience UI because a detailed medical examination will be needed to identify the reason. Identifying the cause and treating the cause is the only possible cure for UI but there are certain ways to control the involuntary urination.
• Maintain normal body weight.
• Do exercises that strengthen your pelvic muscles.
• Avoid the excess usage bladder irritants like alcohol, chocolates, caffeine, etc.
• Supplement your food with fibers which can help in preventing constipation since constipation may impose a stress on the urinary bladder.
• You can train your bladder to cope up with the effects of UI when it is not possible to cure the disease. Patients are trained to delay the urination when there is an urge. Setting a timetable for urination can also help in such situations. Urinating just after a normal urination is another training method so that you can avoid overflow incontinence.
• Anticholinergic drugs and estrogen treatment can give a relief to the condition.
• Radiotherapy can be used to heat muscles of the lower urinary tract. After healing, muscles will become tough and this gives a control of urination.
• Devices like urethral inserts, pessaries can be used with the help of a doctor.
• Absorbent pads and urinary catheter helps in avoiding urine leakage.
There are thousands of people suffering from U I. Feel free to consult a doctor, share your problems with your loved ones, go well with the medication, and get back to your normal life.