Urinary incontinence is the involuntary and unintentional leaking of urine. Urinary incontinence can also be an embarrassing problem. As with many potentially embarrassing or uncomfortable symptoms, those affected may be hesitant to speak up or ask questions about their condition, even at the doctor’s office. Urinary incontinence occurs more often in women than in men, and it is a lot more common than you might expect. In fact, chances are that you know other people who have been affected by urinary incontinence.
The fact is that this common condition is treatable by a variety of approaches, and not speaking up about the problem means that you won’t have access to effective treatments. Dietary changes, medications, vaginal supportive devices, biofeedback, nerve stimulation, injections to thicken the pelvic tissues, and surgery are all possible treatment options, depending upon the exact type and severity of the incontinence. Absorbent pads and undergarments are also available for those who are concerned that the problem may manifest when they are away from home.
A 2010 summary of research studies presented at an international meeting of doctors who study incontinence illustrates just how common this condition can be. In particular, studies showed that some degree of urinary incontinence was reported by 25 per cent-45 per cent of women. While urinary incontinence becomes more common with age, 7 per cent-37 per cent of women aged 20-39 reported experiencing some degree of incontinence. Having incontinence on a daily basis was noted by 9 per cent to 39 per cent of women over 60. The prevalence of incontinence in men was reported to be approximately half that in women, with 11 per cent-34 per cent of older men reporting symptoms of incontinence.
There are many different types of incontinence, depending upon the reason for the problem. Abnormalities in bladder function can cause so-called urge incontinence, thought to be related to abnormal contractions of the bladder muscle. Damage to or weakening of the pelvic structures and muscles (which commonly occurs during or after pregnancy) can cause stress incontinence, in which urine leaks during coughing, laughing, or other movements that put stress on the bladder. Other types of incontinence can develop if the bladder cannot empty properly or if the nerves that control the bladder are damaged. It’s also possible to have a mixture of more than one type of incontinence. For example, the combination of stress and urge incontinence is not unusual in women.
Incontinence must not be a source of embarrassment when you speak with your physician. The fact is that this common condition is treatable by a variety of approaches, and not speaking up about the problem means that you won’t have access to effective treatments. Dietary changes, medications, vaginal supportive devices, biofeedback, nerve stimulation, injections to thicken the pelvic tissues, and surgery are all possible treatment options, depending upon the exact type and severity of the incontinence. Absorbent pads and undergarments are also available for those who are concerned that the problem may manifest when they are away from home.
Source : WMD
PREVENTING URINARY INCONTINENCE
It is not always possible to prevent urinary incontinence, but a healthy lifestyle can reduce the chances of the condition developing.
Being obese increases your risk of urinary incontinence. Maintain a healthy weight by eating a balanced diet. Use the healthy weight calculator to see if you are a healthy weight for your height.
Depending on your particular bladder problem, your GP can advise you about the amount of fluids that you should drink. If you have urinary incontinence, cut down on alcohol and drinks that contain caffeine, such as tea, coffee and cola. These can cause your kidneys to produce more urine and irritate your bladder.
The recommended daily limits for alcohol consumption are:
- three to four units a day for men
- two to three units a day for women
A unit of alcohol is roughly half a pint of normal-strength lager, a small glass of wine or a single measure (25ml) of spirits.
If you have to urinate frequently during the night (nocturia), try drinking less in the hours before you go to bed. However, make sure you still drink enough fluids during the day.
Keeping active is a very important part of leading a healthy lifestyle and can help prevent several serious health conditions, including urinary incontinence. Do a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise at least five times a week. Being pregnant and giving birth can weaken the muscles that control the flow of urine from your bladder. If you are pregnant, strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can help prevent urinary incontinence. Men can also benefit from strengthening their pelvic floor muscles by doing pelvic floor exercises. Find out more about pelvic floor exercises.
Source : NHS
HOW WE PASS URINE
Urine passes from the kidneys through tubes called ureters to the bladder, where it is stored. The bladder is supported by pelvic floor muscles. Some of this muscle wraps around the urethra – the tube that runs from the bladder to outside the body – to help keep it closed until you need to pass urine. Once the bladder is full, a signal is sent to the brain that you need to pass urine. When you are ready, the brain tells the pelvic floor muscles to relax and open the urethra. The muscles around the bladder contract and push the urine out. A problem in any part of this process can result in urinary incontinence.