Urinary incontinence is common and can often be embarrassing for some. The severity can range from occasionally leaking urine when you cough or sneeze to having an urge to urinate that’s so sudden and strong that you don’t make it to a restroom in time.
It often occurs as people get older, urinary incontinence isn’t exactly an inevitable consequence of aging. If urinary incontinence interferes with your daily activities, don’t hesitate to see your doctor. In most cases making simple lifestyle and dietary changes or seeking medical care can treat the symptoms of urinary incontinence.
Some Of The Symptoms Of Urinary Incontinence
Many generally experience minor leaks of urine. Others may lose small to moderate amounts of urine more frequently.
Types of UI include:
- Stress incontinence – Is when urine leaks when exerting pressure on your bladder by coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising, or lifting something heavy.
- Urge incontinence – If you have sudden, intense urges to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine. You may feel as though you need to urinate often, including throughout the night. Urge incontinence may be caused by a minor condition like an infection or more of a severe condition such as a neurological disorder or diabetes.
- Overflow incontinence – You may experience frequent or constant dribbling of urine due to your bladder not emptying completely.
- Functional incontinence. A physical or mental impairment that delays you from making it to the toilet in time. For example, if you experience severe arthritis, you may be unable to unbutton your clothing quickly enough.
- Mixed incontinence. If you experience more than one type of urinary incontinence, this is often referred to as a combination of stress and urge incontinence.
Temporary or short-term causes of incontinence can include:
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs): An infection inside your urinary tract (urethra, ureters, bladder, and kidneys) can cause pain and increase your need to urinate more often. Once the UTI is treated, the urge to urinate frequently will go away.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, your uterus generally places additional pressure on the bladder as it expands. Most women who experience incontinence during their pregnancy notice that it goes away shortly after delivery.
- Medications: Incontinence can be a side effect of the medications you are taking, including diuretics and antidepressants.
- Beverages: Coffee and alcohol can make you urinate much more often. When you stop drinking these beverages, your need to urinate frequently typically goes down.
- Constipation: Chronic constipation can cause you to have bladder control issues.
Chronic or long-term causes of incontinence can include:
- Pelvic floor disorders: If you have an issue with your pelvic floor muscles, it can impact the way your organs function, including your bladder.
- Stroke: A stroke can interfere with muscle control. That can include the muscles that control your urinary system.
- Diabetes: Diabetes can cause your body to produce more urine. This increase in the amount of urine can cause leakage issues.
- Menopause: When a woman goes through menopause it can cause a rapid change in hormone levels and the pelvic floor muscles can also become weaker.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS): With MS you may experience a loss of control with your bladder, leading to leakage issues.
- Enlarged prostate: A larger than average prostate can cause several bladder control issues. You might also hear this condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH.
- After having prostate cancer surgery: During prostate cancer surgery the sphincter muscle can sometimes be damaged leading to stress incontinence.
When Should You See Your Doctor About Urinary Incontinence
It is important to discuss any urinary incontinence issues you are experiencing with your doctor especially if you feel as though it disrupts your quality of life. Once you and your healthcare provider have discovered the reasons why you are experiencing UI. You can then determine which treatment option is right for you.
Here at OB-GYN Women’s Centre at Lakewood Ranch, we are here for you through all your phases of life. Give us a call if you have any questions or concerns.