Things to know about Urinary Incontinence
What is urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence described by Webster’s dictionary is an involuntary loss of large or small amounts of urine.
Urinary Incontinence is more common in women, but men also experience incontinence.
Urinary Incontinence affects 200 million people worldwide. One of four women over the age of 18 experience episodes of leaking urine involuntarily.
There are 25 million adults in the United States that suffer with urinary incontinence of some form. Out of that, 75 – 80 % of those are women, and for those women over the age of 60, 23% deal with incontinence.
What are some common causes of Incontinence?
Some simple causes could be as simple as a Urinary Tract Infection or even Constipation. These are simple conditions that can be treated right away.
But here is a list of some more complicated causes:
Pregnancy – Hormone changes and increased baby weight can lead to stress incontinence.
Childbirth – vaginal delivery can weaken the muscles needed for control of the bladder or damage bladder nerves and supportive tissue, leading to a dropped (prolapse) pelvic floor – which can cause the bladder, uterus, rectum or small intestine to get pushed down and protrude in the vagina which can cause incontinence.
Age – aging of the bladder muscle can decrease the bladder’s capacity to store urine. Also, involuntary bladder contractions become more frequent as you get older.
Menopause – after menopause, women produce less estrogen, the hormone that helps keep the lining of the bladder and urethra healthy. Absence of this hormone can cause tissue to deteriorate and aggravate incontinence.
Hysterectomy - a removing of the uterus, may damage the pelvic floor muscles, which can lead to incontinence.
Though incontinence often occurs as you age, it’s not an inevitable consequence of aging.
Types of Incontinence include:
Stress: urine leaks when you put pressure on your bladder, by coughing, laughing, sneezing, exercising, or straining to lift something heavy. This can be a common occurrence after a woman gives birth.
Urge: you have a sudden, intense urge to urinate, followed by an involuntary loss of Urine- or you may find yourself going to the bathroom often with a need to urinate. Urge incontinence may be caused by a minor medical condition or by a neurological disorder such as MS or diabetes.
Overflow: a frequent or constant dribbling of urine due to your bladder not emptying completely.
Functional: when you have a physical or mental impairment that prevents or makes you unable to make it to the bathroom in time, or you are unable to unbutton your pants in time due to arthritis or another physical impairment
Mixed Incontinence: simply when you have more then one type of the above urinary incontinence types.
As we all age and Urinary Incontinence becomes more acknowledged, and more is known about it, people are feeling more comfortable to discuss incontinence with their doctors. I encourage you to do so, it is important to seek out medical device to rule out any underlying conditions.
Some things that are known to stimulate the bladder and maybe increase the amount of urine and/or the frequency are the following:
- Carbonated Drinks
- Sparkling Waters
- Heart and Blood Pressure Medications
- Sedatives and Muscle Relaxers
- Large doses of Vitamin C
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Chili Peppers
- Foods high in Spice
- Citrus Fruits/ High in Sugar Acids
Just remember Urinary Incontinence is not a disease - it’s a condition that might be caused by medical or physical problems. Remember, you are not alone and there are treatments that can help.
Sources: Mayo Clinic and others