Definition, Causes, and Treatment of Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence could be defined as the loss of control over one’s bladder. As frequent as this condition is, there are several reasons why people don’t talk to a doctor when they began experiencing the symptoms. If it’s a mild case where there is sporadic leakage when coughing or sneezing, they may dismiss it as not urgent enough to warrant prompt medical attention. If it’s a more severe instance, in which the need to urinate is so unexpected and pressing that they’re not able to make it to a bathroom before they can avert disaster, they may feel too embarrassed to talk to a doctor (or anyone else for that matter) about it.
There are many types of urinary incontinence. They include stress, urge, overflow, mixed, functional, and total incontinence. Regardless of the form it assumes, it’s crucial to see a doctor as soon as possible. Not only to address the inconvenient issue of incontinence itself, but also to determine whether there is an underlying condition which may be causing the disorder. Some of those underlying conditions may be prostatitis, an enlarged prostate, prostate cancer, bladder cancer or stones, neurological disorders, or obstruction caused by a tumor in the urinary tract.
Other potential causes of urinary incontinence are alcohol ingestion, overhydration, caffeine, bladder irritation, medications, urinary tract infection, constipation, pregnancy and childbirth, aging, hysterectomy, and painful bladder syndrome. All of these causes may be worsened by a series of risk factors, such as gender (women are more prone to stress incontinence), age (bladder and urethra muscles grow weaker as we grow old), obesity (extra weight puts pressure on the bladder), smoking (smoking-related coughing can induce incontinence episodes), and other diseases like kidney disease and diabetes. Chronic urinary incontinence may lead to skin problems, urinary tract infections, and unwanted changes in one’s persona, social and work lives.
Incontinence is diagnosed after a battery of tests and procedures including urianalysis, blood test, postvoid residual measurement, pelvic ultrasound, stress test, urodynamic testing, cystogram, and cystoscopy. Once it has been diagnosed, urinary incontinence treatment may involve behavioral techniques (bladder training, scheduled toilet trips, fluid and diet management), physical therapy (pelvic floor muscle exercises, electrical stimulation), medications (anticholinergics, topical estrogen, imipramine, duloxetine), medical devices (urethral insert, pessary), interventional therapies (bulking material injections, nerve stimulators), surgery (sling procedures, bladder neck suspension, artificial urinary sphincter), and absorbent pads and catheters.