Many people suffer from urinary incontinence. This article will explain what causes incontinence, its symptoms, its effect on both men and women, and finally, the solutions available to solve the problem.
What is Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine. It can be a minor annoyance or a major problem that interferes with everyday activities. The severity of urinary incontinence ranges from occasional leaking when coughing or sneezing to having the urge to urinate that’s so sudden and strong that you don’t get to the toilet in time.
Types of Urinary Incontinence
There are two types of urinary incontinence:
Stress incontinence is the most common type of urinary incontinence; stress incontinence occurs when the muscles that hold urine in your bladder are weak or damaged. When these muscles relax, even slightly, during coughing, laughing, or sneezing, urine leaks out.
This type is a sudden and intense urge to urinate that you can’t control. The desire may be so strong that you don’t get to the toilet in time.
Causes of Urinary Incontinence
There are many different causes of urinary incontinence. Some of the most common include:
Pregnancy and childbirth:
Pelvic floor muscles can weaken after delivery, leading to stress incontinence.
The muscle tone in the bladder and pelvic area naturally decreases with age, leading to both stress and urge incontinence.
Excess weight can put pressure on your bladder and pelvic floor muscles, leading to both stress and urge incontinence.
Multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and Parkinson’s disease can damage the nerves that control the bladder, leading to urinary incontinence.
Bladder or urinary tract infections:
These infections can irritate the bladder, leading to urge incontinence.
The drop in estrogen levels during menopause can cause changes in the urinary tract, leading to stress incontinence.
Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence
The most common symptom of urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine. However, other symptoms may occur depending on the type of urinary incontinence you have.
Stress incontinence Symptoms:
This type typically causes a small amount of urine leakage when you laugh, sneeze, or cough.
Urge incontinence Symptoms:
This type often causes a strong, sudden urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine. You may also have other urinary symptoms such as frequency (needing to urinate more often) and urgency (a strong need to urinate).
Urinary incontinence can have a profound effect on your quality of life. It can cause social embarrassment and make it challenging to participate in activities you enjoy. It can also lead to depression and anxiety.
Treatment for Urinary Incontinence
There are several different treatment options available for urinary incontinence, depending on the type and severity of your symptoms. Some of the most common treatments include:
Making some simple lifestyle changes can often help relieve symptoms of urinary incontinence. Changes such as losing weight, cutting back on caffeine, and quitting smoking can all help.
There are some medications available to treat stress and urge incontinence. These include drugs that relax the bladder muscles, tighten the pelvic floor muscles, and reduce inflammation.
Pelvic floor muscle training
: Also known as Kegel exercises, this type of therapy strengthens the pelvic floor muscles to help prevent leakage.
This type of therapy involves gradually increasing the time between bathroom visits. Therapy can help retrain the bladder to hold more urine.
In some cases, you may need surgery to correct the underlying cause of urinary incontinence. Procedures such as bladder neck suspension or artificial urinary sphincter implantation can help improve symptoms.
If you are experiencing symptoms of urinary incontinence, it is essential to see a doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment can help improve your quality of life.
Article from the Mayo Clinic on what are the symptoms and causes of urinary incontinence.
Urology Care Foundation on what is urinary incontinence.
About the Author
Katja Bergin PT is a certified physiotherapist and one of the owners of Bergin Motion. Bergin Motion is a family-run Barrie Physiotherapy Clinic located in Barrie’s Southend. Katja specializes in pelvic floor physiotherapy. Katja works with women and men to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles. Katja is part of a team at Bergin Motion in Barrie, Ontario that works with all kinds of conditions.
About Bergin Motion
Bergin Motion is a Barrie Physiotherapy Clinic. Bergin Motion offers physiotherapy in Barrie to clients with a wide range of conditions.
The clinic in Barrie specializes in orthopedic, neurological, and pelvic health disciplines.
Bergin Motion treats clients both at their clinic and in the comfort of their own home if they cannot travel to the clinic.
Located in the south end of Barrie, Ontario, the physio clinic boasts 9000 sq. ft., with seven treatment rooms and a fully equipped gym.