How Is It Diagnosed
Upon talking to your doctor about your symptoms of incontinence, your doctor will likely perform a number of tests and exams in order to determine the root cause of the incontinence.
Your doctor will perform a physical examination to determine if there are any problems he or she can identify that might be causing your incontinence. During this time, your doctor may also conduct a digital rectal exam, in order to determine an enlarged prostate or to uncover any blockages that may exist. Finally, urine and/or blood tests may be taken to test for any other underlying conditions.
Your doctor may also ask you to keep a bladder diary for several days. This type of diary tracks your diet and drink intake, as well as any leaks that may occur, and what you were doing at the time. Often, this may identify patterns of when you are experiencing leaks, and can help you and your doctor determine diet or behavioral changes that may be beneficial in reducing bladder leaks.
Why Does Urinary Incontinence Happen
There are two main types of urinary incontinence:
- Stress incontinence
- Urge incontinence
“Stress incontinence occurs when your pelvic floor muscles the muscles that support your bladder and urethra weaken, either due to childbirth or over time,” says Dr. Lindo.
If you’re experiencing stress incontinence, you might find yourself leaking urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh, exercise or lift something heavy.
“Urge incontinence, on the other hand, occurs when the bladder muscle squeezes to empty out urine when it is not supposed to. It may be due to the amount or type of fluids you drink, resulting in spasms,” explains Dr. Lindo. “Additionally, urgency incontinence can sometimes be a sign of a larger health complication, such as a bladder infection.”
With urge incontinence, you likely experience an overwhelming, sudden need to urinate and leak urine before you can make it to the bathroom.
“For many women the exact cause of their urge urinary incontinence is unknown,” adds Dr. Lindo. “However, there are many treatments that can help you manage symptoms.”
How Is Urinary Incontinence Diagnosed
The first step is to visit your doctor. They will examine you and talk about your medical history. You may need to keep a diary of your bladder habits to see what type of urinary incontinence you have. For example, you might need to write down how much you drink, how many times you go to the toilet, and when you leak.
You might also have special tests to monitor what happens to your bladder when its filled with urine. This is called urodynamic testing.
Your doctor will rule out other health conditions that might be affecting your bladder.
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Surgery And Procedures For Urinary Incontinence
If other treatments for urinary incontinence are unsuccessful or unsuitable, surgery or other procedures may be recommended.
Before making a decision, discuss the risks and benefits with a specialist, as well as any possible alternative treatments.
If you are a woman and plan to have children, this will affect your decision, because the physical strain of pregnancy and childbirth can sometimes cause surgical treatments to fail. Therefore, you may wish to wait until you no longer want to have any more children before having surgery.
The various surgical treatments for urinary incontinence are outlined below.
Can Urinary Incontinence Be Reversed
The term urinary incontinence describes when a person cannot control their urination, to the point that they wet themselves. It can also cause frequent dribbling throughout the day and night. Although urinary incontinence is a common problem, it can be frustrating and embarrassing for those who suffer from it.
If your doctor has recently informed you that you have a form of urinary incontinence or you just suspect it, you may be wondering if the problem will ever go away. The good news about this issue is that you may be able to fully reverse it or at least reduce your symptoms. We describe some of the most common treatment methods for urinary incontinence below.
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Behavioral Changes To Tame Urinary Incontinence
- By May Wakamatsu, MD, Contributor
Although urinary incontinence is not a life-threatening medical condition, it can significantly affect quality of life. When urinary incontinence becomes bothersome, people often stop traveling, exercising, visiting family and friends in short, people stop doing the activities they enjoy.
Surprisingly, approximately 70% of urinary incontinence can be significantly improved just by changing behavioral habits. This is called behavioral therapy. In a recent study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, behavioral therapy, either alone or in combination with medication therapy, was more effective than medication treatment alone for treating urinary incontinence.
This means if you are motivated enough to stick with a behavioral treatment program, theres a strong chance you can improve your bladder control yourself.
What Can You Do To Relieve Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence almost never goes away on its own. But there are steps you can take to help relieve your symptoms.
“Alleviating urinary incontinence starts with understanding which type of incontinence you’re experiencing and what’s causing it,” says Dr. Lindo. “A specialist such as a urogynecologist can help provide those answers for you, as well as help you understand which behavior modifications and other treatments will be most effective for alleviating your incontinence.”
Weight loss almost always helps relieve urinary incontinence because it reduces the amount of pressure being placed on your pelvic floor. In fact, losing just 5 percent of your weight can improve your urinary symptoms by up to 70 percent.
Similarly, pelvic floor exercises, such as Kegels, can help reduce symptoms of either type of incontinence. In the case of stress incontinence, pelvic floor exercises are a way to restrengthen your weakened muscles. For urge incontinence, these exercises can help calm and retrain your bladder.
“For women experiencing stress incontinence after childbirth, sometimes weight loss and postnatal pelvic floor exercises are all it takes for symptoms to resolve over time,” adds Dr. Lindo.
Depending on the type of incontinence you’re experiencing, your doctor may suggest trying additional modifications.
Behavioral modifications for stress incontinence:
- The use of a vaginal insert, such as a tampon, while exercising
Behavioral modifications for urgency incontinence:
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Types Of Urinary Incontinence
There are different types of incontinence:
- Stress incontinence occurs when urine leaks as pressure is put on the bladder, such as during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting heavy objects. Its the most common type of bladder control problem in younger and middle-aged women. It also may begin later, around the time of menopause.
- Urge incontinence happens when people have a sudden need to urinate and cannot hold their urine long enough to get to the toilet. It may be a problem for people who have diabetes, Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, multiple sclerosis, or stroke.
- Overflow incontinence happens when small amounts of urine leak from a bladder that is always full. A man can have trouble emptying his bladder if an enlarged prostate is blocking the urethra. Diabetes and spinal cord injuries can also cause this type of incontinence.
- Functional incontinence occurs in many older people who have normal bladder control. They just have a problem getting to the toilet because of arthritis or other disorders that make it hard to move quickly.
Urinary Incontinence After Prostate Surgery: Everything You Need To Know
Undergoing a prostatectomy can be difficult. And for many men, finding that they are incontinent post surgery may come as a shock.
But rest assured that there are many treatments available to manage incontinence treatment after surgery. Read below for some of the most common questions we receive about incontinence after prostate surgery.
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Causes Of Stress Incontinence
Stress incontinence occurs when the pressure inside your bladder as it fills with urine becomes greater than the strength of your urethra to stay closed .
Any sudden extra pressure on your bladder, such as laughing or sneezing, can then cause urine to leak out of your urethra.
Your urethra may not be able to stay closed if the muscles in your pelvis are weak or damaged, or your urethral sphincter is damaged.
These problems may be caused by:
- damage during childbirth, particularly if the child was born vaginally rather than by caesarean section
- increased pressure on your tummy, for example because you are pregnant or obese
- damage to the bladder or nearby area during surgery, such as the removal of the womb in women or removal of the prostate gland in men
- neurological conditions, which affect the brain and spinal cord, such as Parkinsons disease or multiple sclerosis
- certain connective tissue disorders, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- certain medications
Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises
Also known as Kegel exercises, these exercises are especially effective for stress incontinence but may also help urge incontinence. To do pelvic floor muscle exercises, imagine that youre trying to stop your urine flow. Then:
- Tighten the muscles you would use to stop urinating and hold for five seconds, and then relax for five seconds.
- Work up to holding the contractions for 10 seconds at a time.
- Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions each day.
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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.
What Steps Can I Take At Home To Treat Urinary Incontinence
Your doctor or nurse may suggest some things you can do at home to help treat urinary incontinence. Some people do not think that such simple actions can treat urinary incontinence. But for many women, these steps make urinary incontinence go away entirely, or help leak less urine. These steps may include:
You can also buy pads or protective underwear while you take other steps to treat urinary incontinence. These are sold in many stores that also sell feminine hygiene products like tampons and pads.
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A Patients Story: Overcoming Incontinence
Christopher Miller* is a real estate agent who is married and has two sons. About five years ago, at age 56, Mr. Miller was diagnosed with prostate cancer. After a great deal of research and consultations with five doctors, Mr. Miller decided to have a radical prostatectomy.
Although he considers the operation a success, in that it has apparently eradicated the cancer, Mr. Miller struggled for almost two years to overcome persistent urinary incontinence. For much of that time, he felt ill-served by the medical community. The story of how he eventually overcame this problem may be helpful to other men in the same situation.
What was going through your mind when you learned you had prostate cancer?
Like anyone else, I was surprised. You never think its going to happen to you. The biggest fear, of course, is that it might be life-threatening. Even though I knew this is generally a disease that takes a long time to grow, I still wondered how much longer I might have to live. So I thought of things like: Is my family provided for? Are my financial affairs in order? Will my children be secure? Will I ever meet my grandchildren?
Of course, I was very concerned about my wife. Wed been married 32 years at that point, and I worried about what impact this would have on her. Shes a very strong and good person, and she remained at my side every moment of the time. And that support proved to be invaluable.
How many physicians did you see before making a treatment decision?
When You Should See A Health Care Professional
You shouldnt have to wear a pad to soak up urine every day. Also ask yourself these questions:
Is the urge to urinate interfering with your work because of leaking or frequent bathroom breaks?
Do you map out where bathrooms are when you run errands?
Is incontinence interfering with your sex life or intimacy with your partner?
These are all signs of a problem, and that it may be time for you to talk with a gynecologist.
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Plan Ahead: Scope Out Bathrooms Before You Leave Home
If you have urinary incontinence, its a good idea to know where the bathrooms are located at unfamiliar destinations, such as restaurants, museums, shopping centers, and parks. Try finding a map or directory ahead of time online. One useful Procter & Gamble app, Sit or Squat: Restrooms Near Me, can help you find a clean public restroom near your current location. It can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play.
Urinary Incontinence: The Basics
Urinary incontinence can be very minimal, leaking only a few drops. Or it can be severe, leaking so much that your pants are soaked.
The two most common types of urinary incontinence are stress urinary incontinence and urgency urinary incontinence . SUI is the type of leaking that happens when you cough, sneeze, lift, or exercise. UUI is when you get the urge to urinate, and leak before you make it to the toilet.
Behavioral modifications help both types of urinary incontinence.
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How Is Incontinence Diagnosed
Often, the diagnosis process for incontinence will start with a conversation with your healthcare provider about your medical history and bladder control issues. Your provider might ask you questions like:
- How often do you urinate?
- Do you leak urine between trips to the toilet, how often does this happen and how much urine do you leak each time?
- How long have you been experiencing incontinence?
These questions can help your provider figure out a pattern with your leakage, which often points to a specific type of incontinence. When your provider is asking about your medical history, its important to list all of your medications because some medications can cause incontinence. Your provider will also ask about any past pregnancies and the details around each delivery.
There are also several specific tests that your provider might do to diagnose incontinence, including:
While at home, your provider might recommend you keep track of any leakage in a journal for a few days. By writing down how often you experience incontinence issues over the span of a few days, your provider might be able to identify a pattern. This can really help in the diagnosis process. Make sure to write down how often you need to urinate, how much you are able to go each time, if you leak between trips to the bathroom and any activities you might be doing when you leak urine. Youll then bring this journal with you to your appointment and talk about it with your provider.
Will Urinary Incontinence Go Away On Its Own
There’s no doubt that urinary incontinence affects your quality of life. Leakages can not only irritate your skin and cause embarrassment, but constantly worrying about when one might happen next can keep you from living your life. So much so that you might plan everything you do around whether there’s a bathroom nearby.
It’s a very common problem affecting up to one in three women. If you’re experiencing urinary incontinence, you’re likely looking for answers. Specifically, what can you do to stop it?
“Urinary incontinence is a loss of urine when you’re not actively trying to urinate,” explains Dr. Fiona Lindo, urogynecologist at Houston Methodist. “It can happen without you being aware or with physical exertion, such as exercise or even when simply standing up, coughing or laughing.”
“Unfortunately, urinary incontinence isn’t likely to go away on its own. The good news, however, is that there are things that you can do on your own to improve it, and there are plenty of options for treating it,” adds Dr. Lindo.
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What Causes Urinary Incontinence
Depending on the person, incontinence may be a temporary issue. This is why its important to consult a doctor. Women predominantly struggle with incontinence, but men also face this issue. Medications, constipation, vaginal or urinary tract infection may cause incontinence. Other causes are overactive bladder muscles, nerve
damage, interstitial cystitis, difficulty getting to the toilet in time, and for men, an enlarged prostate. Not everyone faces incontinence, but the most common risk factors are being female, getting older, high-impact sports, excess body fat, smoking, and chronic diseases such as kidney disease, prostate cancer, Parkinsons disease, Alzheimers, etc.
How To Stop Excitement Urination In Dogs
If your dog is urinating out of excitement, there are a few things you can do to help stop the behavior. Try to keep your dog calm and relaxed when you are around. If they start to get too excited, give them a time out in their crate or another room. Give them a chew toy or bone to keep them occupied. Be consistent with your commands and do not give in to their begging or excitement. If they continue to urinate when excited, you may need to consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist to help correct the behavior.
Dogs frequently urinate indoors for two reasons. The study of behavior and the study of medicine both fall into this category. When a person urinates excitement or submissively, they are not the same person. It is usually observed when highly caffeinated dogs lose control of their bladders in response to social stimulation or when they are placed in a state of arousal. It is a good strategy to gradually sensitize your dog to the stimulus that causes them to misbehave in order for them to overcome this issue. As an alternative, it may be advantageous to reduce the stimuluss intensity. Keeping your greeting short and to the point can help reduce your dogs excitement when he or she comes home from potty.
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