What Are The Symptoms Of Incontinence
The main symptom of incontinence is a leakage of urine. This could be a constant dripping of urine or an occasional experience of leakage. If you have incontinence, you might have large amounts or small amounts of leaked urine. You might experience leakage for a wide variety of reasons often depending on the type of incontinence you have.
You might leak urine when you:
- Have an urge to urinate, but cant make it to the toilet on time.
- Have to get up in the middle of night to urinate .
Medicine For Stress Incontinence
If stress incontinence does not significantly improve with lifestyle changes or exercises, surgery will usually be recommended as the next step.
However, if you’re unsuitable for surgery or want to avoid an operation, you may benefit from an antidepressant medicine called duloxetine. This can help increase the muscle tone of the urethra, to help keep it closed.
You’ll need to take duloxetine tablets twice a day and will be assessed after 2 to 4 weeks to see if the medicine is beneficial or causing any side effects.
Possible side effects of duloxetine can include:
Do not suddenly stop taking duloxetine, as this can also cause unpleasant side effects. A GP will reduce your dose gradually.
Duloxetine is not suitable for everyone, however, so a GP will discuss any other medical conditions you have to determine if you can take it.
How Often Should I Change The Diapers
Adult diapers must be changed frequently to prevent skin infections and rashes. The frequency largely depends on ones lifestyle, health, and budget. For most, diaper changes occur 5 to 8 times a day. This means that an average person with incontinence would need at least 150 diapers a month.
In addition, caregivers of people who are less mobile should conduct frequent checks to ensure that diapers are immediately changed when soiled.
As diapers are bulky in nature, we recommend ordering adult diapers online for it to be delivered straight to your home, as compared to buying it in person.
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Tighten Your Pelvic Floor With Kegel Exercises
Kegels, or pelvic floor muscle exercises, can benefit both men and women who have urinary incontinence by strengthening the muscles that support the bladder. This, in turn, helps prevent urine leaks and the feeling of urgency that comes with overactive bladder. And Kegels couldnt be easier to do: Per the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, simply squeeze or tighten your pelvic floor muscles these are the same muscles you use to stop the flow of urine or passing gas for a count of three and then slowly relax them for a count of three. Kegels are so easy, you can do them anytime even while sitting in your car at a stoplight or at your desk at work. Build up to doing one set of 10 to 15 squeezes, three times a day, and your bladder control should improve within six weeks.
Bladder Anatomy And Physiology
The anatomy and physiology of the bladder are complex, but a basic understanding of these topics is essential in order to appreciate the various types of UI and their management.25,26Figure 1 illustrates the basic anatomic structures and nervous system wiring involved in bladder function, including the detrusor muscle, the internal and external sphincters , and their neurological components.
Bladder anatomy and physiology.
Reduced activation of the sympathetic nervous system results in relaxation of the detrusor muscle, closure of the sphincter, and bladder filling. When the volume of urine in the bladder reaches 200 to 400 mL, the sensation of urge to void is relayed via the spinal cord to the brain centers. Voluntary voiding involves the parasympathetic nervous system and the voluntary somatic nervous system. Influences from these systems cause contractions of the detrusor muscle and corresponding somatic nervous activity, leading to sphincter relaxation.2631
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Surgery For Stress Incontinence
If the less invasive treatments dont help you, your GP will refer you to a specialist to discuss surgery. The main types of surgery for stress incontinence include the following.
- Sling surgery. In this procedure, your surgeon will place a piece of your own tissue under your urethra. This acts as a sling to support it.
- Injections of bulking agents into the wall of the urethra. This narrows your urethra, helping it to stay closed and so hold urine in your bladder. The effects of this procedure may wear off over time. So, you may need to have further injections.
- Artificial sphincters. If youve already had surgery for stress incontinence and this hasnt worked, you may be offered an artificial urinary sphincter.
Each procedure comes with risks and benefits. Its important to discuss these with your doctor before you agree to go ahead with the procedure.
Female Urinary Incontinence Treatment
No one wants to live with incontinence. Luckily, there may be solutions. See a doctor if you notice urinary incontinence symptoms are not going away, getting worse and/or affecting quality of life. In order to get the most information, a doctor will likely ask you to record urination habits for at least a couple of days or even up to a week. The bladder dietary will include what you eat and drink each day, each time you urinate and how much urine is produced each time. This is when the doctor measures urine output and then measures how much remains in the bladder. When the doctor has the necessary information, a treatment plan will most likely be discussed.
One of the most common treatments is medication. Depending on the type of incontinence, the medication will either relax the bladder or strengthen the urethra.
Botox is used to freeze muscles, so this works best when the incontinence is caused by overstimulation. This is the case for many people who suffer from spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis .
Some cases may require surgery. The two most common surgical procedures for incontinence are the sling procedure and retropubic colposuspension. The sling procedure is an outpatient procedure during which the doctor creates a ‘hammock’ to catch excess urine. A retropubic colposuspension is an inpatient procedure that is needed when the bladder has prolapsed and the doctor must secure it back in place.
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Types Of Female Incontinence
Knowing what type of incontinence you have, is the first important step to finding the right treatment. Once diagnosed, your GP can then advise you what treatment options are available for your specific type of incontinence. While there are several types, the three most common types of female incontinence are stress, urge and overflow incontinence.
Stress incontinence is physical stress or pressure on your internal organs such as a cough, a sneeze or even a laugh when your bladder is full. Read more about stress incontinence.
Urge incontinence is the inability to hold on for more than a few minutes once you have a sudden overwhelming need to urinate. Read more about urge incontinence.
Overflow incontinence is characterised by leaking with no warning or urge to urinate. Read more about overflow incontinence.
What Treatments Can Help Urinary Incontinence
To help treat my bladder prolapse and urinary incontinence, I got in touch with cosmetic doctor and intimate health expert, Dr Shirin Lakhani. From her clinic in Greenhithe, Kent, she offers a selection of treatments which claim to help, including the Emsella Chair and Ultra Femme 360°.
When I saw the press release for Dr Lakhanis treatments come through, I was in a dark place. After 18 months of incontinence, and interminable NHS waitlists, I was struggling, both physically and mentally. Unable to do anything more than walking in terms of exercise, I struggled to shift my postpartum pounds and regain my original fitness. Meanwhile, my self-esteem and body confidence plummeted.
So, by that point, I was willing to try pretty much anything, even if that did mean having a hot rod put up me on a regular basis
After an initial, sensitive consultation, Dr Lakhani recommends a two-pronged approach to addressing my prolapse. The first part involves the Emsella Chair, a treatment which promises the equivalent of 11,400 pelvic floor exercises in just 28 minutes. No wonder then that its been nicknamed The Kegel Throne.
But if you think urinary incontinence is only relevant to women of a certain age, youre wrong. Incontinence can strike no matter how old you are, since high impact sport, constipation and being overweight are all risk factors that can result in the pelvic floor weakening.
You simply sit on something akin to what SpaceX would consider to be a comfy armchair
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Locate The Nearest Toilet
If you have urinary incontinence, its always a good idea to know where you can find a bathroom. When you arrive in a public area such as a restaurant, ask a member of staff where the bathroom is. If you have a smartphone, you can even download an app that lets you locate your nearest public toilet when you need to go.
Urinary Incontinence In Older Adults
Urinary incontinence means a person leaks urine by accident. While it can happen to anyone, urinary incontinence, also known as overactive bladder, is more common in older people, especially women. Bladder control issues can be embarrassing and cause people to avoid their normal activities. But incontinence can often be stopped or controlled.
What happens in the body to cause bladder control problems? Located in the lower abdomen, the bladder is a hollow organ that is part of the urinary system, which also includes the kidneys, ureters, and urethra. During urination, muscles in the bladder tighten to move urine into the tube-shaped urethra. At the same time, the muscles around the urethra relax and let the urine pass out of the body. When the muscles in and around the bladder dont work the way they should, urine can leak, resulting in urinary incontinence.
Incontinence can happen for many reasons, including urinary tract infections, vaginal infection or irritation, or constipation. Some medications can cause bladder control problems that last a short time. When incontinence lasts longer, it may be due to:
- Weak bladder or pelvic floor muscles
- Overactive bladder muscles
- Damage to nerves that control the bladder from diseases such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, or Parkinsons disease
- Diseases such as arthritis that may make it difficult to get to the bathroom in time
Most incontinence in men is related to the prostate gland. Male incontinence may be caused by:
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Fast Facts On Urinary Incontinence
- Urinary incontinence is more common in females than in males.
- There are a number of reasons why urinary incontinence can occur.
- Obesity and smoking are both risk factors for urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence is when a person cannot prevent urine from leaking out.
It can be due to stress factors, such as coughing, it can happen during and after pregnancy, and it is more common with conditions such as obesity.
The chances of it happening increase with age.
Bladder control and pelvic floor, or Kegel, exercises can help prevent or reduce it.
Treatment will depend on several factors, such as the type of incontinence, the patients age, general health, and their mental state.
Control Your Urge To Urinate
You may be able to control, or suppress, the strong urge to urinate, which is called urge or urgency suppression. With this type of bladder training, you can worry less about finding a bathroom in a hurry. Some people distract themselves to take their minds off needing to urinate. Other people find that long, relaxing breaths or holding still can help. Doing pelvic floor exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor also can help control the urge to urinate. Quick, strong squeezes of the pelvic floor muscles can help suppress urgency when it occurs, which may help you get to the toilet before you leak.
What Causes Incontinence
There are many different reasons that you could experience incontinence. These causes can vary depending on if youre a woman or man. Some causes are temporary health conditions that usually go away once treated. In those cases, your incontinence also usually stops once the condition is treated. Incontinence can be caused by long-term medical conditions. When you experience leakage issues because of a chronic condition, its usually something you will have to manage over a longer period of time. Even with treatment, chronic conditions usually dont go away. Incontinence may have to be managed over time as a symptom of your chronic condition.
Temporary or short-term causes of incontinence can include:
- Urinary tract infections : An infection inside your urinary tract can cause pain and increase your need to pee more often. Once treated, the urge to urinate frequently usually goes away.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, your uterus places extra pressure on the bladder as it expands. Most women who experience incontinence during pregnancy notice that it goes away in the weeks after delivery.
- Medications: Incontinence can be a side effect of certain medications, including diuretics and antidepressants.
- Beverages: There are certain drinks like coffee and alcohol that can make you need to urinate much more often. If you stop drinking these beverages, your need to urinate frequently typically goes down.
- Constipation: Chronic constipation can cause you to have bladder control issues.
Reduce Your Fluid Intake
Drinking water is good for your body, and its important to stay hydrated, but overdoing fluid intake can lead to bladder urgency and leaks. The key to healthy fluid intake is maintaining a good balance. Try to drink water when thirsty, but not more of it than your body asks for. And keep an eye on the color of your urine. If its clear, you could probably cut back on fluid intake, but dark urine is a sign that you need more fluids.
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Treatment Of Urinary Incontinence
Treatment for incontinence usually starts with the simplest treatments. This means trying lifestyle changes and other treatments before thinking about surgery. For information on things you can do to help yourself, see our section on self-help.
Treatment depends on the type of incontinence you have.
Maintaining A Healthy Weight With A Balanced Diet
Being overweight can put you at a higher risk of experiencing urinary incontinence .
Studies have shown that weight loss can significantly improve symptoms of incontinence in patients who are overweight . Getting enough exercise and adopting a healthy diet is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight.
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Female Urinary Incontinence Risk Factors And Complications
Overweight being overweight puts a lot of pressure on your bladder and the surrounding muscles. This can cause incontinence because a weak bladder cannot hold too much urine or for longer durations of time.
Constipation Chronic constipation is also a major cause of urinary incontinence. While passing stools, a person with constipation has to put a lot of pressure, this also puts pressure on the bladder muscles and weakens them over time. It can, as a result, cause incontinence.
Nerve Damage Nerve damage due to issues like diabetes, multiple sclerosis or childbirth can cause bladder malfunction. They can also cause damage to the pelvic floor muscles, bladder, and urethra.
Surgery when a womans pelvic floor muscles are damaged in any way, the bladder, too, may malfunction. If you have had any surgeries involving your reproductive organs, such as a hysterectomy or removal of the uterus, you may face bladder control issues.
Medications some medications can cause female urinary incontinence, such as diuretics. The incontinence usually goes away once you stop taking these medications.
Caffeine caffeine causes bladder irritation. It can also cause your bladder to fill up more quickly. Some studies have shown that if women drink more than 2 cups of coffee, they have a higher chance of female urinary incontinence. Limit your intake of beverages with caffeine to help with incontinence.
When To See A Health Care Provider And What To Expect
Talk to your health care provider if you have urinary incontinence or any signs of a bladder problem, such as:
- Needing to urinate more frequently or suddenly
- Urinating eight or more times in one day
- Passing only small amounts of urine after strong urges to urinate
- Trouble starting or having a weak stream while urinating
Your doctor may recommend urodynamic testing and perform the following to try to figure out what might be causing your bladder problem:
- Give you a physical exam and take your medical history.
- Ask about your symptoms and the medications you take.
- Take urine and blood samples.
- Examine the inside of your bladder using a cystoscope a long, thin tube that slides up into the bladder through the urethra. This is usually done by a urinary specialist.
- Fill the bladder with warm fluid and use a cystoscope to check how much fluid your bladder can hold before leaking.
- Order or perform a bladder ultrasound to see if you are fully emptying your bladder with each void.
- Ask you to keep a daily diary of when you urinate and when you leak urine. Your primary care doctor may also send you to a urologist, a doctor who specializes in urinary tract problems.
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When To Seek Medical Advice
See a GP if you have any type of urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is a common problem and you should not feel embarrassed talking to them about your symptoms.
This can also be the first step towards finding a way to effectively manage the problem.
The GP may also suggest you keep a diary in which you note how much fluid you drink and how often you have to urinate.
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