URINARY INCONTINENCE – SYMPTOMS, TYPES, CAUSES, RISK FACTORS, DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT

The involuntary or accidental leakage of urine is called as Urinary Incontinence (UI) or simple it means that a person has to urinate when he/she don’t want to. It is a common and sometimes embarrassing problem for most of the affected people. According to American Urological Association, one-quarter to one-third of men and women in United States are affected by Urinary Incontinence. The problem is much more common in women than men and around 30% of women aged 30-60 affected from it as compared to 1.5-5% of men. For majority of the people, some simple lifestyle changes and medications can ease the symptoms of Urinary Incontinence and cure the problem as well. 

Here are the symptoms, types, causes, risk factors, complications, diagnosis and treatment of Urinary Incontinence: 

WHAT ARE THE MAIN TYPES OF URINARY INCONTINENCE AND THEIR SYMPTOMS?

The main symptom of UI is the unintentional leakage (release) of urine while some people experience minor leakage and some frequently wet their clothes. Below are the main types and their respective symptoms of UI:

Stress Incontinence:

It is the most common type of UI, especially among the women. In this type, the stress means physical pressure and not the mental stress. When extra pressure is exerted on bladder and muscles that are involved in urinary control, the person feels to urinate involuntarily. This extra pressure is triggered by some actions which are sudden cough, laughing, sneezing, exercise and lifting something heavy.  

Urge Incontinence:

It is the second common type of UI and also known as “reflex incontinence” or “overactive bladder”. In this type, there is a sudden and involuntary contraction of the muscular walls of the bladder which causes you an urge to urinate that you can’t stop. When you have this urge to urinate, you have a very short span of time before it is released. This involuntary urination can be caused by some minor conditions such as infections or more severe problems such as neurological disorders or diabetes. 

Overflow Incontinence:

This type is more common in men who have prostate gland problems especially enlarged prostate that obstruct the bladder and blocked urethra (a tube that carries urine from bladder outside to the body). The bladder cannot hold the urine that body is making or the bladder can’t empty completely which causes small amount of urine leakage. So, in this case, you need to urinate frequently and experience constant dribbling from urethra.         

Functional Incontinence:

In this type of UI, the person knows that there is need to urinate but cannot make it to the bathroom in time either due to some physical impairment such as poor eyesight, poor mobility, or mental problems such as dementia, confusion, depression, anger. It is more common among elderly people. 

Mixed Incontinence:

In this type, a person may experience more than one type of UI at the same time. 

If you start experiencing any of these types of Urinary Incontinence frequently or when it start affecting your quality of life, restricting activities and limiting social interactions then feel comfortable to talk to urologist and seek medical advice.

WHAT ARE THE URINARY INCONTINENCE CAUSES?

UI isn’t a disease; rather it is a symptom which is caused by every day habits, certain physical and mental problems. The doctor can thoroughly evaluate the exact cause behind your incontinence. 

Temporary UI is caused by certain foods, drinks and medications which stimulate the bladder and increase the volume of the urine. These include 

Some easily treatable medical conditions can also cause UI, such as constipation and urinary tract infections. 

Persistent UI which means that it can be persistent condition is caused by some physical problems or changes, such as: 

WHICH FACTORS INCREASE THE RISK OF DEVELOPING URINARY INCONTINENCE?

The factors that increase your risk of developing the problem include:

WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATIONS OF URINARY INCONTINENCE?

The complications of severe UI include:

HOW IS URINARY INCONTINENCE DIAGNOSED?

In order to determine the specific type of UI, at first the doctor reviews your complete medical history thoroughly and then performs a physical exam. After that the doctor will likely recommend following tests:

Some special tests may also recommend if further information is needed by the doctor, these include:

WHAT IS THE TREATMENT OF URINARY INCONTINENCE?

The Urinary Incontinence treatment depends on the type, its severity and actual cause behind it. A combination of different treatment options may also be needed depending on the individual conditions. The doctor will suggest less invasive treatment options at first and after that he/she can go for other options, if needed and in case the problem still persists. 

Behavioural Techniques for Treatment:

Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises:

These pelvic floor exercises also known as Kegel exercises help to strengthen the urinary sphincter and pelvic floor muscles, these muscles help to control urination. These exercises are effective for stress and urge incontinence. The doctor can better explain you how to perform Kegel exercises. 

Medications:

The doctor prescribes medications along with some other techniques and exercises. Some commonly used medications to treat UI are Anticholinergics (it calms an overactive bladder), Mirabegron (it relaxes the bladder muscle), Alpha Blockers (for relaxing bladder neck muscles & muscle fibers in prostate) and Topical Estrogen (it rejuvenates tissues in urethra & vaginal areas).  

Surgery:

In case if other treatment options didn’t work then different surgical procedures will be used to treat the problem. Affected women who plan to have children should discuss surgical options thoroughly with the doctor. Commonly used surgical procedures include:

Absorbent Pads and Catheters:

If the problem still persists and other treatment options didn’t work to eliminate your incontinence then you can also try out some products helping to give you ease from discomfort and inconvenience that happens due to urine leakage. These include:

Pads and Protective Garments: You can use various products that are not more bulky as normal underwear and you can easily wear them under everyday clothing.

Catheter: In this method, the doctor may recommend inserting a soft tube called catheter, into your urethra several times a day in order to drain your bladder. The doctor will instruct you on how to insert and clean these catheters to safely reuse.

Want to get rid of Urinary Incontinence, Consult Urology Care of Central New Jersey specialists:

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of Urinary Incontinence and if it’s affecting your everyday life then you can contact Urology Care of Central New Jersey specialists who have experience, expertise, efficiency and training in performing tests for diagnosing the problem and are being treating patients with different urological problems resulting in curing the diseases that can lead them to live a healthy life. 

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