urinary incontinenceUrinary Incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine due to a weakened, or loss of control, of the urinary sphincter. The American Urological Association estimated that one-quarter to one-third of women and men in the United States experience some form of urinary incontinence making an embarrassing medical condition a prevalent health concern. It occurs more often in females than males and there is an increase of urinary incontinence as people age. If this is affecting your daily living, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with New River Women’s Health, as there are options for lifestyle changes or medical treatments that can ease or stop leakage.

There are 5 different types of urinary incontinence:

  • Stress – As you exert pressure on your bladder by coughing, laughing, exercising, sneezing or lifting heavy items you can experience urine leaks.
  • Urge – A sudden urge to urinate that involves a involuntary bladder leak. This can often happen throughout the night. Urge incontinence can be caused by an infection or a more severe condition such as diabetes or a neurological disorder.
  • Functional – A physical or mental impairment can prohibit your ability to make it to toilet in time. Examples can include: impaired mobility, psychiatric disorders, delirium, or urinary infection.
  • Overflow – If the bladder doesn’t empty completely, a person can experience frequent or constant dribbling of urine.
  • Mixed – More than one type of urinary incontinence can be present at the same time.

Urinary incontinence is not a disease; rather, it is a symptom. Seeing a doctor can help to determine what the underlying cause could be such as everyday habits, a physical problem or an underlying medical condition.

Diuretics – Foods, drinks and certain medications can increase the amount of urine that your body produces causing potential leakage issues.

  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Chili peppers
  • Caffeine
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Citrus fruits
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Muscle Relaxants
  • Heart and blood pressure medications
  • Sedatives
  • Vitamin C in large doses

Medical Conditions – Some medical condition have an easy treatment that can resolve bladder issues.

  • Urinary Tract Infections – These infections irritate the bladder and make you feel urgency that can result in incontinence.
  • Constipation – The rectum is located near the bladder and many of the nerves are shared. When constipation occurs the nerves are overactive and can produce an increase in the need to urinate.

Physical Changes – Certain physical changes in the body can also bring on urinary incontinence.

  • Pregnancy – Changes in hormone levels as well as the stress of the weight of the fetus can cause stress incontinence.
  • Menopause – As less estrogen is produced by the body, the lining of the bladder and urethra can deteriorate and cause incontinence issues.
  • Hysterectomy – The bladder and uterus share many muscles and ligaments. If any damage occurs to the pelvic floor muscles this can lead to incontinence.
  • Neurological Disorders – When interference occurs with the nerve signals for bladder control, urinary incontinence can be the result. Stroke, brain tumor, spinal injury, Parkinson’s disease and Multiple sclerosis can impact the brain’s ability to send proper signals.
  • Tumors or Stones – Urinary stones can create irritants to the bladder that lead to leakage. Tumors located along the urinary tract can block the normal flow of urine and result in overflow incontinence.
  • Age – As the body ages the bladder muscle decreases the amount of urine that it can store, resulting in more frequency and urgency issues.

Seeking the advice of a medical professional will help you to determine what type of urinary incontinence you are experiencing and what options could beneficial to your situation. Treatment options can include pelvic floor exercises, bladder training, medications, medical devices, and surgical options. If bladder control issues are having an impact on your daily living, make an appointment with New River Women’s Health and find out what steps you can take to take to improve your life.