The loss of bladder control, also known as urinary incontinence, is a common and often embarrassing condition. According to the Mayo Clinic, many people experience occasional, minor leaks of urine. Others may lose small to moderate amounts of urine more frequently, or experience such a strong urge to urinate that they cannot reach the bathroom in time.
What are the main types of urinary incontinence?
- Stress incontinence may happen when you are coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising or lifting something heavy, as these actions can cause pressure on your bladder and cause urine leaks. The word “stress” refers to the physical strain associated with urine leakage. Although it can be emotionally distressing, the condition has nothing to do with emotion.
- Urge incontinence occurs when you experience a rapid, forceful urge to urinate followed by a loss of urine that you cannot control. You may feel the need to urinate often, including throughout the night.
- Overflow incontinence happens when your bladder doesn’t empty completely when you use the bathroom, causing a frequent or constant dribbling of urine.
- Functional incontinence is triggered by a physical or mental impairment keeps you from making it to the restroom in time. For example, if you have limited hand function or hand strength, you may not be able to undress quickly enough before you have to urinate.
- Mixed incontinence is a combination of more than one type of urinary incontinence.
Who gets urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence affects twice as many women as men. This is because reproductive health events unique to women, like pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause, affect the bladder, urethra, and other muscles that support these organs.
What causes incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is usually caused by problems with the muscles and nerves that help the bladder hold or pass urine. Certain health events unique to women, such as pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause, can cause problems with these muscles and nerves.
Urinary incontinence can happen to women at any age, but it is more common in older women. This is probably because of hormonal changes during menopause. More than 4 in 10 women 65 and older have urinary incontinence.
In men, incontinence is often related to prostate problems or treatments.
Urinary incontinence is not a disease. The American Urological Association describes it as a symptom of a wide range of health issues such as the short-term and long-term issues listed below.
Urinary incontinence has various causes. Some short-term causes include urinary tract infections (UTI) and constipation. Some long-term causes include pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, hysterectomy, enlarged prostate and neurological disorders.
How is urinary incontinence treated? How do I manage my incontinence naturally?
Urinary incontinence happens more often in older people but it’s not a normal part of aging. Treatments depend on the type of incontinence you have and how much it affects your life. Your treatment may include medicines, simple exercises, or both..
Many people with urinary incontinence view the following self-help tips and lifestyle changes as helpful in in relieving symptoms:
- Daily Pelvic Floor Exercises
- Smoking Cessation
- Low Impact Exercises like Pilates
- Avoid Lifting Heavy Weights
- Excess Weight Loss
- Managing Constipation
- Reduction of Caffeine and Alcohol Intake
- Choose water instead of other drinks
- Avoid Spicy and Acidic Foods
The Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding the following items if you are experiencing temporary urinary incontinence, as certain drinks, foods and medications may act as diuretics. Diuretics stimulate your bladder and increase your urine output.
- Carbonated drinks and sparkling water
- Artificial sweeteners
- Chili peppers
- Foods that are high in spice, sugar or acid, especially citrus fruits
- Heart and blood pressure medications, sedatives, and muscle relaxants
- Large doses of vitamin C
Finding help to manage urinary incontinence
If urinary incontinence affects your daily activities, consult your doctor for advice on medical and lifestyle options that can help you manage it.
For some people, incontinence products and devices are the only way to manage bladder problems to give you more freedom to do the things you want to do. Some incontinence products include:
- Indwelling catheter (stays in your body day and night, joined to a drainage bag)
- Intermittent catheters that are used many times each day
- External catheter or collecting systems (for men)
- Absorbent products (pads, adult diapers, tampons)
For further information that can help you better manage urinary incontinence, talk to one of our manufacturer-trained Urology Specialists to learn how samples of continence care products may improve the quality of your life.
Contact a specialist at 855-948-3319