Urinary incontinence is a problem where one cannot control their urination. The person unintentionally passes urine from time to time. This disorder is also known as ‘Loss of bladder control’. This condition persistently occurs as the muscles and nerves which are responsible for holding the urine get weakened. While this may seem embarrassing especially in public situations but eventually it’s just a medical condition. This can occur to both men and women, but women are slightly more prone to it when compared to that of men. As people get old the chances of them having an urinary incontinence gets higher as well. The severity may vary anywhere from a few drops of urine leakage to the urge to use the washroom to empty the bladder.
TYPES OF URINARY INCONTINENCE
There are few types of urinary incontinence which are as follows:
- Stress Incontinence – Stress induced on the bladder due to sneezing , coughing or lifting heavy loads leads to leakage or urine.
- Overflow Incontinence – Incomplete discharge of urine leads to frequent urination as the bladder isn’t entirely empty.
- Urge Incontinence – In this case, the sudden urge to pass urine is followed by the involuntary flow of urine. People facing this urinate often. This could happen due to a minor temporary condition such as an UTI (urinary tract infection) or a major conditions such as neurological disorders. Diabetes is also a reason.
- Functional Incontinence – Any form of mental or physical impairment which stops one from using the washroom on time is known as functional incontinence.
- Mixed Incontinence– This includes anything more than one form of urinary incontinence.
TEMPORARY VS PERSISTENT URINARY INCONTINENCE
It is to be noted that our daily activities and lifestyle also affects a major part in the condition of urinary incontinence just that it is just temporary based and not a persistent based. Temporary urinary incontinence stays for the current period of time while persistent urinary incontinence as the name suggests is persistent irrespective of lifestyle habits. One does not need to consult a doctor in case of a temporary urinary incontinence. The symptoms help one decide if a doctor’s consultation is required or not.
CAUSES OF TEMPORARY URINARY INCONTINENCE
Some foods we consume on a general basis or sometimes in surplus act as diuretics – that causes us to pass extra urine to get rid of the excess fluid and salt from the body. These foods are as follows :
- Caffeinated energy drinks.
- Artificial sweeteners.
- Chilly peppers.
- Excessive dose of food that consume Vitamin C such as citrus fruits.
- Foods containing large amounts of spice, acid or salt.
Some medications like sedatives and muscle relaxants, medicines to control heart and blood pressure may also be responsible for the same.
Other common reasons leading to temporary urinary incontinence are UTIs and Constipation.
Urinary tract infection is the infection related to the bladder and the urinary tract system where the infection irritates the bladder and its surrounding muscles which eventually increases the urge to urinate and sometimes by incontinence.
Yes, constipation is also a known factor for temporary urinary incontinence. Since the bladder and the rectum are closely located and share most of the nerves surrounding that area. Constipation increases the activity of the nerves in that area which in turn increases the frequentation of urination.
CAUSES OF PERSISTENT URINARY INCONTINENCE
Various reasons can induce an permanent urinary incontinence such as follows:
- Excessive consumption of tobacco.
- Neurological disorder.
- Brain Tumor/ Stroke.
- Spinal injury.
- Prostate Cancer.
- Pregnancy – Increase in the weight of the mother due to the additional weight of the fetus leads to stress incontinence.
- Hormonal Changes – Numerous hormonal changes occur in the body due to natural age factor, pregnancy and during menopause.
- Ageing – As the person gets old the muscles controlling the bladder gets weaker hence decreases the potential to store urine both quantity wise and duration to hold.
- Menopause – Post menopause, the female body deteriorates in the production of estrogen which is responsible for keeping the bladder and it’s lining healthy and strong. Weaking the urethral tissues and instigating urinary incontinence.
- Enlarged Prostate – The enlargement of the prostate glad in men which is medically termed as ‘Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia’ also leads to incontinence as prostate glad is also responsible for the flow of urine in men
- Blockage – Obstructions like formation of stones in the kidney (renal calculus) or tumor in the urinary tract or stone formation in the bladder (urinary stones) also leads to abnormal flow of urine.
Urinary incontinence can be treated in multiple methods depending upon the patient’s severity. Doctor diagnosing the patient is the best person to decide the form of treatment required. Three basic forms of treatment are as follows.
- Non Medicative Form – This includes basic lifestyle changes for a period of time, such as reduction of excess body fat to maintain an appropriate weight related to that of the BMI (body mass index), bladder training and exercises related to the pelvic floor.
- Medication – Medicines would be prescribed to control the flow/ rate of urination to an extent.
- Surgical Invasion – When all methods fail to help, undergoing a surgery could be an option for a permanent relief from incontinence. Surgery on the pelvic floor for prolapse or retropubic suspension in women to control stress induced incontinence or a sling procedure to support the bladder and the urethra.