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What Is Urinary Incontinence

How to Cure Urinary Incontinence with Kegel Exercises

Urinary incontinence happens when you lose control of your bladder. In some cases, you may empty your bladders contents completely. In other cases, you may experience only minor leakage. The condition may be temporary or chronic, depending on its cause.

According to the Urology Care Foundation, millions of adults in the United States experience urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence affects women more often than men in a ratio. However, this condition can affect anyone and has many different causes.

As you age, the muscles supporting your bladder tend to weaken, which can lead to urinary incontinence.

Many different health problems can also cause the condition. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can be a sign of cancer, kidney stones, infection, or an enlarged prostate, among other causes.

If you experience urinary incontinence, make an appointment with a healthcare professional. Urinary incontinence can interfere with your daily life and lead to potential accidents. A healthcare professional can also determine if a more serious medical condition may be the cause. They may also be able to treat the cause.

Urinary incontinence is divided into three general types. You can potentially experience more than one type at the same time.

Home Remedies For Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence can be described as the inability to control urination, leading to urine leakage or involuntary loss of urine.

It is a very common, and at times debilitating, urological disorder. According to the National Association for Continence , it affects about 25 million Americans.

Urinary incontinence can be divided into three main types:

  • Urge incontinence occurs when an overactive or hyperactive bladder causes a sudden and intense urge to urinate causing involuntary loss of urine
  • Stress incontinence occurs when physical activities like vigorous exercise, jumping, coughing, sneezing or even laughing put pressure on the bladder and it releases urine
  • Overflow incontinence inability to completely empty the bladder, leading to frequent or constant dribbling of urine

Incontinence can be caused by a number of factors like age , weakened pelvic floor muscles due to surgery or childbirth, enlarged prostate, menopause, an overactive bladder, nerve damage, urinary stones, urinary tract infections and constipation.

Plus, certain foods, drinks and medications may stimulate your bladder and cause temporary incontinence.

It not only can cause discomfort and embarrassment, but can also be harmful if urine is left in the bladder creating a breeding ground for bacteria. Incontinence is not a disease in itself, but a symptom of an underlying condition or disorder.

Here are the top 10 home remedies for urinary incontinence.

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Managing Bladder And Bowel Incontinence

Some common treatments are:

  • Changes in food or drink. Increasing your fiber intake can help manage diarrhea and constipation. Drinking plenty of fluids can also ease constipation. Not drinking fluids at certain times can help manage overactive bladder and urinary incontinence.

  • Exercises. Kegel exercises can strengthen the sphincter muscles and pelvic floor. This can help you have better control.

  • Medicines. Some medicines can help control bowel incontinence. Antidiarrheal medicines can help manage diarrhea. And medicine can help bladder muscles relax to give you better control.

  • Keeping a bathroom schedule. Setting a regular schedule for using the toilet can give you better control. This includes attempting to urinate or move your bowels at the same time each day.

  • Electrical stimulation. This therapy can stimulate damaged nerves. This may give you better muscle control in your bladder or bowel.

  • Surgery. In rare cases, you may need surgery to repair damage to muscles or nerves.

Your healthcare provider will work with you to create a treatment plan.

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How The Disorders May Be Linked

If you have bladder problems, such as frequent urination, in addition to irritable bowel syndrome , you are not alone. There is an overlap between bladder symptoms and IBS, and certain treatments can help provide relief.

This article discusses bladder conditions that often affect IBS patients, symptoms to watch out for, and when to see a doctor.

Verywell / Laura Porter

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If Kegels don’t help, make an appointment with a pelvic rehab physical therapist. Many women with bowel incontinence, as well as those who have difficulty emptying their bowel, see improvement after pelvic floor therapy. In rare cases, you may need surgery to correct the problem.

In the meantime, you may want to wear special absorbent underwear to handle bowel leaks.

As with other major changes to your body during and after pregnancy, remember that it takes time to heal and adjust. Bowel incontinence may bring up unexpected feelings, especially embarrassment, but it’s a common result of the delivery process for many women.

BabyCenter’s editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you’re seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.

Mayo Clinic. Fecal Inctontinence. 2020.

UCLA Health. Childbirth & Incontinence. 2022.

Makol A et al. 2008. Fecal incontinence in women: Causes and treatment. Women’s Health 4: 517-528.

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Should I Drink Less Water Or Other Fluids If I Have Urinary Incontinence

No. Many people with urinary incontinence think they need to drink less to reduce how much urine leaks out. But you need fluids, especially water, for good health.

Women need 91 ounces of fluids a day from food and drinks.11 Getting enough fluids helps keep your kidneys and bladder healthy, prevents urinary tract infections, and prevents constipation, which may make urinary incontinence worse.

After age 60, people are less likely to get enough water, putting them at risk for dehydration and conditions that make urinary incontinence worse.12

Can A Urinary Tract Infection Cause Incontinence

Yes, it is possible that the UTI has caused damage to your pelvic floor muscles. This can make it difficult to hold in urine or stool. Damage to your pelvic floor muscles may also cause urinary incontinence.

The pelvic floor muscles are responsible for the ability to control the bladder, bowel, and sexual organs.

There can be many causes of incontinence which you should discuss with your doctor. Bladder infections are one possible cause. Both bladder infections and urinary incontinence have similar symptoms that may not always be obvious.

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How Can You Avoid Constipation

There are many lifestyle changes you can make to prevent constipation from happening in the first place.

  • Eat a balanced diet. Make sure youre getting enough fruits and vegetables each day and incorporate beans and whole grains which can help bulk up and soften your stools, making them easier to pass.
  • Drink plenty of water. Not only does it help you stay hydrated, but water also helps make the stool softer and pass more smoothly.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol can be very dehydrating and should be avoided if you struggle with constipation.
  • Move your body every day.Exercise speeds up the time it takes for your food to pass through your intestines by increasing your blood flow.
  • Dont ignore the urge to go. Holding it in not only backs you up, but, as we mentioned previously, over time it can actually damage the nerves in the rectum, making your problem worse over time.
  • Watch your pooping posture. Squatting is the most effective way to empty your bowels. Unfortunately, modern toilets are not designed for proper pooping posture. Using a stool helps, as it allows you to sit with your knees higher than your hips.

The Physical Impact Of Incontinence

Fecal Incontinence Treatment

While many people see incontinence as embarrassing, until youve experienced it yourself you may not realize the true physical impact that it can have on your life.

Of course theres the obvious problem of having to change clothes or bedding often, or running to the bathroom, but incontinence can impact your physical health in other ways too. Many people with regular incontinence suffer from skin infections, due to over-exposure to moisture.

Additionally, many people report reducing their physical activity when they have incontinence. For those who were once active, activities such as running or other high impact exercises are often avoided or stopped completely as the practice may lead to unexpected and involuntary leakage of urine.

Finally, incontinence presents a much greater risk for falls and fractures, especially in older adults.

An elderly person who is focused on getting to the restroom quickly may become unaware of the potential hazards that lie in their path to get to the bathroom , or may become inattentive to controlling their posture or body movements, which increases the risk of falling.

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The Link Between Urinary Incontinence And Constipation

Do you have urinary incontinence? Do you struggle with having regular bowel movements and feel constipated? Do you sometimes think when you struggle with bowel movement that your urinary leakage is worse?

Urinary incontinence can be caused by many factors, with one of the main contributors being constipation. Constipation is when someone passes less than 3 bowel movements per week or has difficulty with bowel movements. Constipation is discussed very frequently with patients because the enlarged colon places more pressure onto the bladder, which can make incontinence and urgency worse. There are several ways to help constipation. Lets talk about one of those ways- adjusting how you sit while you have a bowel movement.

Unfortunately, our toilets are not designed to help us have easy bowel movements. Instead, they actually cause our puborectalis muscle to tense. This muscle slings around the rectum, and its job is to keep stool in, but it also needs to be able to relax to let stool out.

So what can you do to help relax that muscle, thus helping you to have easier bowel movements? Sitting with your feet propped on a foot stool brings your knees slightly above your hips, which then places the puborectalis muscle in a lengthened position and allows for less tension on the rectum.

Bladder Symptoms And Ibs

IBS is a group of symptoms, notably abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits. The condition doesn’t damage your digestive system, but it often affects your quality of life.

IBS doesn’t cause urinary problems directly. But many of the same triggers for IBS, including stress and infection, are believed to play a role in urinary problems.

The bladder symptoms often experienced by people with IBS include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Incomplete emptying of the bladder
  • Urinary urgency

Women with IBS may be more likely to experience urinary incontinence and overactive bladder than women without IBS.

A 2012 study from Asahikawa Medical University in Japan reported that 33.3% of people who had IBS had overactive bladder as well. Women were affected slightly more frequently than men.

It isn’t known for sure why people who have IBS are at higher risk for urinary problems and vice versa. Sometimes improving one of the two problems may lead to an improvement in the other.

Since the bladder and bowel are close together, there could be interaction between some of the nerves and muscles.

Other possible reasons could be inflammation around the bladder and bowel, or a nervous system issue affecting the whole region.

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Pregnancy Childbirth And Uncontrollable Gas

Studies have found that nearly 1 in 3 women who deliver vaginally report experiencing uncontrollable gas. For some women, the concern occurs for only a short time. For others, the concern becomes chronic.

Researchers have sought to identify why this affects some women, but not others, particularly after pregnancy and delivery. One study linked the use of instruments, such as forceps or vacuum delivery, to an increased risk of trauma to the perineal muscles, resulting in flatal incontinence.

The use of instruments during delivery doesnt alone explain the concern. It has been noted that women who have multiple natural births report a higher incidence of flatal incontinence. While this might suggest a C-section might offer a way to prevent this concern, researchers have found C-sections did not offer protection against flatal incontinence.

Training The Body To Pee Less Often

Bladder Control Photos and Premium High Res Pictures

In some cases, doctors may recommend retraining the bladder to urinate less frequently. This involves resisting the urge to pee.

The goal is to increase the amount of fluid the bladder can hold before it triggers the urge to pee. If successful, this will extend the amount of time between trips to the bathroom.

A doctor will often develop a personalized retraining schedule, and they will typically oversee the training.

The following tips may help a person ease into the retraining process:

  • staying warm, because being cold may trigger the urge to pee
  • listening to music or watching television for distraction
  • actively engaging the brain with a game, puzzle, or problem to solve
  • reading a book or newspaper article
  • staying seated or walking around, whichever resolves the urge
  • making a telephone call or writing an email

The key is to engage the brain and direct attention away from the urge to urinate.

Although it is best to pee whenever the bladder is full, a person may not have immediate access to a bathroom.

The following tips can help an individual make it to the toilet in time:

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Oab Or Incontinence Medications Used In Canada

DRUG NAME SIDE EFFECTS
Once daily
The most common adverse events found with anticholinergic medications include : dry mouth, constipation, impaired cognition and blurred vision. Talk to your doctor about limiting these side effects and which medication may be right for you.

The two most commonly prescribed anticholinergic drugs are oxy- butynin and tolterodine , both of which are available in extended-release formulations.

Recently, medications have been developed that also limit unwanted side effects. These medications include darifenacin , solifenacin , trospium , fesotoredine , Myrbetriq® and oxybutynin chloride gel . Gelnique, is rubbed into the skin, making side effects like dry mouth milder because of constant absorption rates. Myrbetig is a new drug that works by a different mechanism to relax the bladder muscle without blocking the action of acetyl choline and therefore produces lesser side effects. The other drugs are anti-cholinergics but are more specific to the bladder muscle.

Neurotoxins

Re-injection can be considered when the effect diminishes but not within three months of the last injection

Estrogen

Since estrogen helps keep the urethra healthy and strong, the drop in estrogen that occurs in women after menopause especially with aging may contribute to incontinence. Applying estrogen in the form of a vaginal cream , tablet or ring may help ease symptoms of both stress and urge incontinence.

Desmopressin

Mechanisms Of Urinary Continence

In healthy individuals, the urinary bladder senses the volume of urine by means of distention. Distention of the bladder excites afferent A-delta fibers that relay information to the pontine storage center in the brain. The brain, in turn, triggers efferent impulses to enhance urine storage through activation of the sympathetic innervation of the lower urinary tract . These impulses also activate the somatic, pudendal, and sacral nerves.1

The hypogastric nerves release norepinephrine to stimulate beta3-adrenoceptors in the detrusor and alpha1-adrenoceptors in the bladder neck and proximal urethra. The role of beta3-adrenoceptors is to mediate smooth-muscle relaxation and increase bladder compliance, whereas that of alpha1-adrenoceptors is to mediate smooth-muscle contraction and increase bladder outlet resistance.1 The somatic, pudendal, and sacral nerves release acetylcholine to act on nicotinic receptors in the striated muscle in the distal urethra and pelvic floor, which contract to increase bladder outlet resistance.1

Efferent sympathetic outflow and somatic outflow are stopped when afferent signaling to the brain exceeds a certain threshold. At this point, the parasympathetic outflow is activated via pelvic nerves. These nerves release acetylcholine, which then acts on muscarinic receptors in detrusor smooth-muscle cells to cause contraction. A number of transmitters, including dopamine and serotonin, and endorphins are involved in this process.1

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Will These Tips Work For Everyone

No, there are some people who are simply more likely to have UTIs. It is not fully understood why this may be.

Some people experience repeated UTIs. These cases are called recurrent UTIs and are diagnosed by a medical practitioner. Lifestyle changes such as those listed above may be useful for some people but not others.

Some people will have bacteria in their urine if it is tested but experience no symptoms of an infection. This is called asymptomatic bacteriuria and is a common finding, particularly in older people. It does not usually need antibiotic treatment.

Speak to your GP about a referral to a specialist urogynaecologist or urologist to make sure nothing has been missed.

Sleeping Pills And Incontinence

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Only a small percent of people with incontinence have a problem with bed-wetting, according to Anger, who estimates that about 10% of patients with incontinence wet the bed. However, sleeping pills may pose a problem for those with incontinence at night.

Sleeping pills can make things worse, because people dont wake up , she says.

As an alternative, cut down on caffeine so you sleep better on your own, Anger suggests.

Sleep will come more easily if you keep a regular bedtime and wake-up schedule, according to the National Sleep Foundation. You can also develop a relaxing bedtime ritual, such as reading a book or listening to soothing music.

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What To Do If You Have Both / Connection Between Ibs And Urinary Problems

As mentioned, it is not uncommon for symptoms of IBS to exist alongside urinary problems.

One of the main considerations is that both sets of symptoms may have the same underlying imbalances. This can be considered as the root cause.

Rather than seeing these as two separate conditions, focusing on the health of the digestive system can often lead to improvements in both areas.

Both in symptoms of IBS and bladder symptoms.

This can involve adjustments to the diet and specific supplements to:

  • improve the balance of beneficial bacteria
  • support anti-inflammatory processes

These dietary guidelines for supporting digestive issues is often a helpful place to begin.

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