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About Urinary incontinence
Urinary incontinence - a loss of bladder control - is a common condition affecting people of all ages and genders. Individuals who deal with incontinence may occasionally experience urine leakage or intense feelings of needing to urinate without the time to get to a restroom.
Urinary incontinence is commonly categorized into 4 primary types - which cause various symptoms.
- Urge Incontinence: Urge incontinence is characterized as a sudden and intense need to urinate. You may not be able to get to the restroom in time and may end up involuntarily leaking urine. Urge incontinence may also result in a more frequent need to urinate. Certain conditions, such as an infection or neurological condition may contribute to, or cause, urge incontinence.
- Stress Incontinence: Stress incontinence is characterized as urine leakage after pressure is exerted upon the bladder. This leakage frequently occurs as individuals laugh, sneeze, cough, jump, or lift heavy objects.
- Overflow incontinence: When your bladder doesn’t completely empty during urination, it may overflow. This can lead to frequent drips of urine, even when you don’t feel that you have to use the restroom.
- Mixed incontinence: This type of incontinence is characterized by symptoms of several different kinds of incontinence. Commonly, individuals with mixed incontinence experience the symptoms of urge and stress incontinence at various times.
Urinary incontinence in and of itself doesn’t cause symptoms outside of the potentially embarrassing loss of bladder control. It may, however, signify an underlying condition. Many individuals experience incontinence as a result of alcohol or caffeine intake, as well as foods and medications that stimulate the bladder.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the added weight of the uterus can put extra pressure on the bladder and lead to symptoms of stress incontinence.
- Aging: The bladder decreases in size as your age increases. This can lead to symptoms of mixed incontinence.
- Pelvic floor disorders: Weak pelvic floor muscles can impair organ function, including that of the bladder. This can lead to symptoms of stress or urge incontinence.
- Neurological disorders: Parkinson’s disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, and other neurological conditions can impair nerve signals that assist with bladder control. These conditions may result in involuntary urine leakage.
- Menopause: After a woman’s body undergoes the hormone changes during menopause, it may produce less estrogen (which helps manage bladder health). Along with weakening pelvic floor muscles associated with aging, menopause may result in various symptoms of urinary incontinence.
- Prostate Conditions: An enlarged prostate caused by benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) or prostate cancer may cause symptoms of stress or urge incontinence. Treatment for prostate cancer may also cause symptoms of incontinence.
Incontinence can negatively impact your quality of life. If you are experiencing an unexplained loss of bladder control, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. They may provide treatment or screen you for underlying health conditions causing these side effects.
Below is a list of common treatment options for urinary incontinence. During your appointment, discuss these with your doctor to determine the right treatment plan for you.