The bladder is a balloon-shaped organ in the pelvis area whose main function is to store urine.
Urinary incontinence could be defined as the inability to control the passage of urine from your bladder. Urinary incontinence is a common problem in men and women. The complexity of this condition could range from occasional leakage of urine when you cough or sneeze to having constant and sudden urge to urinate.
If urinary incontinence severely affects your daily activities, please consult your doctor immediately. Most often, certain simple lifestyle changes or medical treatment can relieve the discomfort or prevent urinary incontinence.
Causes of temporary urinary incontinence
- Consumption of alcohol which is a bladder stimulant and a diuretic
- Consumption of caffeine which is a diuretic and a bladder stimulant
- Consumption of carbonated drinks, artificial sweeteners, citrus fruits and tomatoes, corn syrup, and foods and beverages that contain high amounts of spice, sugar and acid
- Heart medications, blood pressure drugs, sedatives, muscle relaxants and certain other medications
- Urinary tract infection
Causes of persistent urinary incontinence
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Changes brought about by aging
- Production of less estrogen after menopause
- Hysterectomy or removal of the uterus
- Painful bladder syndrome or interstitial cystitis
- Prostatitis or inflammation of the prostate gland
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) or enlargement of the prostate gland
- Prostate cancer
- Bladder cancer or bladder stones
- Neurological disorders such as Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, a brain tumor or a spinal injury
- Obstruction or a tumor along your urinary tract
- Urinary stones in the kidneys, bladder or ureters
- Women are more vulnerable to stress incontinence than men
- Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and normal female anatomy
- Men suffering from prostate gland problems
- Being obese or overweight
- Kidney disease or diabetes
Tests & Diagnosis
Some of the common tests and procedures performed for diagnosis of urinary incontinence include:
- Keeping a bladder diary to record the amount of fluids that you consume, when you urinate, the amount of urine that is produced, frequency of urination and the number of incontinence episodes.
- Blood test
Additional tests often include:
- Postvoid residual (PVR) measurement
- Pelvic ultrasound
- Stress test
- Urodynamic testing
Treatment for urinary incontinence
The treatment for urinary incontinence generally depends on the type of incontinence, the complexity of your problem and the specific cause.
The doctor may recommend certain behavioral techniques and lifestyle changes for the treatment of certain types of urinary incontinence. This may include bladder training alone or in combination with other therapies, scheduled toilet trips or timed urination, fluid and diet management, weight loss or increased physical activity.
Physical therapy generally involves pelvic floor muscle exercises to strengthen your urinary sphincter and pelvic floor muscles and electrical stimulation. Often, various medications such as Anticholinergics, Topical estrogen. Imipramine and Duloxetine are used in combination with behavioral techniques.
Different kinds of medical devices are also available today to help treat incontinence including Urethral insert and Pessary.
Interventional therapies include bulking material injections, Botulinum toxin type A and Nerve stimulators that could help to control bladder function.
If all the other conventional treatments have failed, surgical procedures are employed to treat urinary incontinence. This includes sling procedures. bladder neck suspension and artificial urinary sphincter.
Here are some of the steps that you can follow to reduce your risk of incontinence:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Quit smoking
- Practice Kegel exercises
- Avoid bladder irritants such as coffee that cause urinary incontinence
- Eat fiber-rich foods
- Exercising daily