Are you constantly worried about leaking when sneezing or finding the nearest restroom? Do you panic when you are unable to control the urge to use the toilet? Have you avoided exercise or being active in fear of urinary leaks? If so, you are probably struggling with involuntary urinary leaks, known as urinary incontinence. With many types, causes and treatment options, it may be helpful to get more information so that you can find a solution to leak-free living.
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Types of Urinary Incontinence
Incontinence is broadly defined as the lack of control over urination, but there are different types of incontinence with varying symptoms. The common ones include:
● Stress Incontinence: Urine leaks caused by pressure exerted on the bladder, and the pelvic floor muscles are too weak to withstand the pressure.
● Overflow Incontinence:This type is primarily due to a weak bladder that can’t stop an overly full bladder from overflowing –even with no urge to urinate.
● Urge Incontinence: A sudden and intense urge to urinatestems from sudden contractions on the bladder to squeeze,“overactive” bladder. When the pelvic floor muscles can’thold urine in long enough to reach a toilet it leads to leaks called urge incontinence.
● Mixed Incontinence: This refers to the combination of stress and urge incontinence.
Causes of Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence can be caused by a number of reasons. These common causes may play a role:
● Weakened pelvic floor muscles
● Pregnancy and delivery
● Pelvic organ prolapse
● Excessive fluid intake
● Excessive alcohol and caffeine intake
● Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
● Neurological conditions like Alzheimer's Disease
● Some medications
When Do I See a Doctor?
You may feel uncomfortable discussing incontinence with your doctor, but it would help to talk to an expert if the condition is forcing you to do the following:
● Urinate frequently (more than 8 times a day)
● Lose productivity
● Miss out on big moments or schedules
● Feel tired (due to sleep loss and constant visits to the bathroom)
● Feel socially anxious about the condition
Diagnosis and Treatment of Urinary Incontinence
To diagnose your condition, your doctor may advise you to take these steps:
● Keep a bathroom journal
● Do urine testing
● Have urodynamic testing
● Have a bladder ultrasound test
● Have cystoscopy
Depending on the diagnosis, there are numerous non-surgical treatment options that can support a healthy bladder. A few of these include:
● Pelvic floor muscle stimulation helps to reduce bladder leaks.
● Pelvic floor exercisers help with Kegel exercises
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