Keeping A Bathroom Journal
You may be asked to keep a bathroom journal before or after your appointment. In your journal, youll log all your bathroom trips and bladder leakage or issues. It can also be helpful to record what you eat and drink in your bladder journal. This record will help your doctor get a more accurate idea of your symptoms and how often they occur. Keeping a journal can also determine what triggers your need to pee or any accidents.
What Are The Symptoms Of Bladder Control Problems
Signs and symptoms of urinary incontinence can include
- leaking urine during everyday activities, such as lifting, bending, coughing, or exercising
- being unable to hold in urine after feeling a sudden, strong urge to urinate
- leaking urine without any warning or urge
- being unable to reach a toilet in time
- wetting your bed during sleep
- leaking during sexual activity
Is Incontinence More Common In Women
Incontinence is much more commonly seen in women than in men. A large part of this is because of pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. Each of these events in a womans life can lead to bladder control issues. Pregnancy can be a short-term cause of incontinence and the bladder control issues typically get better after the baby is born. Some women experience incontinence after delivery because of the strain childbirth takes on the pelvic floor muscles. When these muscles are weakened, youre more likely to experience leakage issues. Menopause causes your body to go through a lot of change. Your hormones change during menopause and this can alter your bladder control.
Men can also experience incontinence, but it isnt as common as it is in women.
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Symptoms Of Urinary Incontinence
Having urinary incontinence means you pass urine unintentionally.
When and how this happens varies depending on the type of urinary incontinence you have.
Although you may feel embarrassed about seeking help, it’s a good idea to see your GP if you have any type of urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence is a common problem and seeing your GP can be the first step towards finding a way to effectively manage the problem.
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.
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Treating And Managing Urinary Incontinence
Today, there are more treatments and ways to manage urinary incontinence than ever before. The choice of treatment depends on the type of bladder control problem you have, how serious it is, and what best fits your lifestyle. As a general rule, the simplest and safest treatments should be tried first.
A combination of treatments may help you get better control of your bladder. Your doctor may suggest you try the following:
How Can I Manage Incontinence At Home
Incontinence can be uncomfortable and disruptive. It can cause sleeping problems, make you feel ashamed or angry, or affect your daily life in other ways. In addition to working with your health care team to find the best treatment, there are things you can do at home to help make incontinence better or more comfortable.
Limit how much you drink, especially coffee and alcohol. Avoid foods that can irritate the bladder, including dairy products, citrus fruits, sugar, chocolate, soda, tea, and vinegar.
Go to the bathroom right before bedtime and any vigorous activity.
Wear an absorbent pad inside your underwear or disposable incontinence underwear.
Maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight can put pressure on the bladder and muscles that support it.
Go to the bathroom regularly each day. Do not wait too long or put off going.
Quit smoking. Nicotine can irritate the bladder. It can also make you cough and leak urine.
Do Kegel exercises. Ask your health care team about doing Kegel exercises at home. They can make your bladder stronger. To do Kegel exercises, first tighten the muscles you use to stop the flow of urine. Then, relax those muscles. Repeat the exercise several times. During this exercise, relax the muscles in your belly, buttocks, and thigh.
Finally, it can help to find support. Talk with your health care team or join a support group for people with bladder problems. It can help you feel better to know that other people are also dealing with incontinence.
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What Are The Variations Of Male Incontinence
There are six different types of urinary incontinence that can affect men.
Urgency incontinence: you feel a sudden urge to urinate that is followed by accidental leakage
Stress incontinence: leakage occurs as a result of quick movements or pressure like coughing or sneezing.
Overflow incontinence: leakage occurs because of a full bladder
Transient incontinence: this is usually the result of a temporary infection in the urinary tract or a side effect of medication
Functional incontinence: obstacles or physical disabilities keep you from getting to the bathroom in time, and accidental leakage occurs
Mixed incontinence: when the cause of your incontinence falls under two or more of the above types
How Is Urinary Incontinence Treated
You and your doctor or nurse will work together to create a treatment plan. You may start with steps you can take at home. If these steps do not improve your symptoms, your doctor or nurse may recommend other treatments depending on whether you have stress incontinence or urge incontinence or both.
Be patient as you work with your doctor or nurse on a treatment plan. It may take a month or longer for different treatments to begin working.
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Incontinence And Alzheimers Disease
People in the later stages of Alzheimers disease often have problems with urinary incontinence. This can be a result of not realizing they need to urinate, forgetting to go to the bathroom, or not being able to find the toilet. To minimize the chance of accidents, the caregiver can:
- Avoid giving drinks like caffeinated coffee, tea, and sodas, which may increase urination. But dont limit water.
- Keep pathways clear and the bathroom clutter-free, with a light on at all times.
- Make sure you provide regular bathroom breaks.
- Supply underwear that is easy to get on and off.
- Use absorbent underclothes for trips away from home.
For more ways to deal with incontinence and other common medical problems in someone with Alzheimers, visit Alzheimers Disease: Common Medical Problems.
Prevalence And Type Of Urinary Incontinence
The prevalence of UI according to age is shown in . The overall prevalence of UI was 14.8%, increasing from 12.0% for the men aged 7074 years old to 26.3% among men 8589 years old but reduced to 16.3% for those aged 90 years old .
Urgency incontinence was the most frequent type of urinary incontinence, with 20% of men reporting leaking urine before getting to the toilet . About 10% of men experienced post-micturition dribbling and 5% of men reported leaking urine for no obvious reason. Three percent of men reported using pads or other incontinence aids.
Analysis of the data from the ICIQ showed that the frequency of urine leakage was strongly correlated with the quantity of urine leaked . Both frequency and quantity of urine leakage were strongly correlated with the self-perceived impact on daily life rating in the ICIQ. Among those defined with UI, 12.6% reported a score over 5 on the self-perceived impact on life scale . The overall ICIQ summed score in all men in CHAMP ranged from 0 to 18 , with a median score of zero, the first quantile was zero and the third quantile was three.
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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.
Types Of Bladder Control Problems
Anyone can have bladder control problems or incontinence. Incontinence caused by cancer or cancer treatment can last a short time or a long time, and it can be mild or severe. There are different types of bladder control problems.
Stress incontinence. Urine leaks out during activities such as coughing, laughing, sneezing, or exercising.
Overflow incontinence. Urine leaks out when your bladder is full.
Urge incontinence. You feel the urge to go to the bathroom right away and urine leaks before you can get to the bathroom.
Continuous incontinence. Urine leaks out constantly, and you cannot control it.
These bladder problems can make you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. Sometimes, people avoid activities they enjoy because of bladder problems. That can affect your quality of life. These are reasons why it is important to tell your health care provider about your experiences. They can help you treat incontinence. The treatment of side effects is an important part of your cancer care and treatment, called palliative care or supportive care. Talk with your health care team about how to treat or manage incontinence.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Urinary Incontinence
The following are common symptoms of urinary incontinence. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Needing to rush to the restroom and/or losing urine if you do not get to the restroom in time
Urine leakage with movements or exercise
Leakage of urine that prevents activities
Urine leakage with coughing, sneezing or laughing
Leakage of urine that began or continued after surgery
Leakage of urine that causes embarrassment
Constant feeling of wetness without sensation of urine leakage
Feeling of incomplete bladder emptying
The symptoms of urinary incontinence may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
What Are The Treatments For Urinary Incontinence
Treatment depends on the type and cause of your UI. You may need a combination of treatments. Your provider may first suggest self-care treatments, including:
- Lifestyle changes to reduce leaks:
- Drinking the right amount of liquid at the right time
- Being physically active
- Staying at a healthy weigh
- Avoiding constipation
- Not smoking
If these treatments do not work, your provider may suggest other options such as:
- Medicines, which can be used to
- Relax the bladder muscles, to help prevent bladder spasms
- Block nerve signals that cause urinary frequency and urgency
- In men, shrink the prostate and improve urine flow
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Our Approach To Urge Incontinence In Women
Incontinence is not an inevitable part of growing older, and there are a variety of treatments available. A leader in this field, UCSF offers innovative, compassionate care to women with urge incontinence. Our team includes gynecologists, urologists, colorectal surgeons and physical therapists who specialize in pelvic floor rehabilitation. Treatment options include bladder training, medications and Botox injections, as well as targeted exercises, biofeedback and electrical stimulation to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. For problems with the nerves regulating the bladder, we also offer several types of nerve stimulation therapy.
We believe that empowering women with knowledge is an important part of the healing process, and encourage each patient to participate in choosing the best treatment option for her.
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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Posterior Tibial Nerve Stimulation
Your posterior tibial nerve runs down your leg to your ankle. It contains nerve fibres that start from the same place as nerves that run to your bladder and pelvic floor. It is thought that stimulating the tibial nerve will affect these other nerves and help control bladder symptoms, such as the urge to pass urine.
During the procedure, a very thin needle is inserted through the skin of your ankle and a mild electric current is sent through it, causing a tingling feeling and causing your foot to move. You may need 12 sessions of stimulation, each lasting around half an hour, one week apart.
Some studies have shown that this treatment can offer relief from OAB and urge incontinence for some people, although there is not yet enough evidence to recommend tibial nerve stimulation as a routine treatment.
Tibial nerve stimulation is only recommended in a few cases where urge incontinence has not improved with medication and you don’t want to have botulinum toxin A injections or sacral nerve stimulation.
Causes Of Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence occurs when the normal process of storing and passing urine is disrupted.
This can happen for a number of reasons, and certain factors may also increase your chance of developing urinary incontinence.
Some of the possible causes will lead to short-term urinary incontinence, while others may cause a long-term problem. If the cause can be treated, this may cure your incontinence.
What Is Urinary Urgency
Urinary urgency is sometimes also referred to as frequent urination. This is not a condition on its own. Instead, urinary urgency is rather considered a symptom. Several conditions may lead to the development of urinary urgency as a symptom.
The main sign of urinary urgency tends to be a consistent urge to urinate. The patient may feel that their bladder is not emptying completely. The patient will feel like they have to urinate again shortly after urinating.
There are times were urinary urgency would not cause serious problems. In such a case, a few simple remedies and strategies may be used as treatment options. The patient will usually be able to continue with their daily life like they normally do.
This is not always the case, however. In certain scenarios, urinary urgency can be a more disruptive symptom. The patient may find that it greatly interferes with their ability to continue with their daily routine.
In more severe cases, urinary urgency may also lead to psychological complications. Anxiety is a common issue linked to urinary urgency. The patient may have anxious feelings when they visit a shop or when they are about to enter a meeting. They will be unsure if they will be able to make it through a specific event. The anxiety may be even greater when a bathroom is not close to the patient during such an event.
What Are The Risk Factors For Urge Incontinence
Women are twice as likely as men to develop urinary incontinence. Although the problem becomes more common with age, healthcare providers dont consider incontinence a normal part of aging. That means you may be able to find ways to treat it.
Risk factors for urge incontinence include: