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Urinary incontinence, a condition that shouldn't be embarrassing

D. Alwinsky, M.D. |
Urinary incontinence is a problem that affects millions of people and causes stress although it's very common.

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Urinary incontinence is the unintentional passing of urine and there are several reasons for that.

The first type is stress incontinence. You may have heard "I laughed so much I peed myself". That's exactly what stress incontinence is: when your bladder is under pressure, when you laugh or when you cough, urine may leak out.

The second type is urge incontinence. As the name describes very well, in this situation you feel an intense urge to pee and you just must go.

If you are unable to fully empty your bladder you will experience frequent leaking and we call this overflow incontinence.

And there is total incontinence: The bladder cannot store any urine at all, so you pass urine constantly.

Now, urinary incontinence makes people feel embarrassed to the point they even refuse to talk about it. But there's no reason for that, that condition is so common and may be treated, so you should talk to your doctor if you have any kind of it.

The diagnosis is simple: a talk with your doctor. They will also explain you the underlying reason for your type of incontinence. Since urinary incontinence is the result of various diseases, it is necessary to direct the treatment according to the disease that caused it.

Stress incontinence happens if you muscles used to prevent urination are weakened of damaged. Urge incontinence is the result of overactivity of the muscles that control the bladder. Overflow incontinence is caused by an obstruction in the bladder which prevents it from emptying.

Total incontinence is a bit more complex. It may be caused by a problem with the bladder from birth, a spinal injury, or a small hole that can form between the bladder and a nearby area.

Functional disorders of the nervous system can often lead to involuntary leakage of urine. There is no urological or organic nervous disease that could etiologically explain this phenomenon.

There are some things that can increase the chances of urinary incontinence.

Obesity is obvious the first. Extra weight make pressure on the bladder. Pregnancy works the same.

Urinary dribbling that occurs after normal urination is not considered incontinence. The cause of it can be a stronger narrowing of the urethra, flaccid bulbous urethra and neurosis.

Then there is a family history of incontinence but it is important to say that incontinence is not a part of ageing that must happen.

Of course, there are measures that you make take to prevent or reverse urinary incontinence.

Losing weight and cutting down on caffeine and alcohol are obvious measures. A coffe in the morning is the sure way to feel the urge to pee.

There is also a bladder training when you learn how to wait longer between the need to urinate and actually passing urine.

Of course absorbent pads may be used if the need to pee is strong and constant. There is also a surgery as an option but there is an exercise that may be helpful for anyone with some kind of urinary incontinence problem.

It's easy. Sit comfortably and squeeze your pelvic muscles 10 to 15 times. Do not hold your breath or tighten your other bottom muscles when you do that. Try to hold each squeeze for a few seconds, have rest between sets, and every week add more squeezes but don't overdo it.

After a few months you should start to see results and keep doing the exercises even if everything seems totally ok.

In case of postoperative incontinence, the patient should be taught to urinate often so that his bladder is less full. Postoperative incontinence often disappears after a few weeks.

Incontinence and retention of urine regularly accompany any major loss of consciousness and are manifested in various organic disorders of the brain, in diabetic and uremic coma, various poisonings, etc. In such cases, the bladder should be especially monitored during a stay in a hospital.

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