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Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is defined as any involuntary leakage of urine. It is extremely common in the elderly, whereas 1 in 10 people aged 65 or older have these issues.

Incontinence transpires when the muscles in the bladder contract or the surrounding urethra muscles ease without warning. The symptoms vary from slight leaking of urine to uncontainable soaking.

Bladder control problems can be embarrassing and often times many individuals hide it from everyone including their doctor. Incontinence can be treated and controlled in most cases if not cured.

Types of Urinary Incontinence:

Stress Incontinence

  • Urine leaks during lifting, coughing, laughing, sneezing, exercise, or other activities that put stress on the bladder. A shifting bladder or weakened muscles around the pelvic region could be the reason for the leakage.

Urge Incontinence

  • The inability to hold urine in the bladder long enough to make it to the restroom in time. People with health conditions such as uterus, bladder or prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, interstitial cystitis, inflamed prostate, diabetes, stroke, etc. may struggle with Urge Incontinence.

Overflow Incontinence

  • The inability to completely empty the bladder and small amounts of urine leaks. This may be caused by diabetes, enlarged prostate blockage in men, or a spinal cord injury. Another reason this occurs is due to when the urethra is blocked from urinary or kidney stones, prostatitis, birth defect, or bladder surgery.

Functional Incontinence

  • Caused by disorders such as arthritis, which makes it difficult to move making it hard to get to the restroom in a timely manner.

How is urinary incontinence diagnosed?

The doctor will collect all personal medical history asking about any symptoms your are experiencing along with any medicines you currently use. A number of continence tests may be performed such as a test that measures how well you
empty your bladder.

In addition, blood and urine tests may be performed. The doctor may also ask you to keep a log of when you urinate along with when you experience leakage. Patterns may identify which type of incontinence you are experiencing.

Warning Signs 

If you experience any of the following signs, go see your doctor as the see may be indicative of an underlying problem or condition that should be treated.

  • Inability to urinate
  • Leakage of urine
  • Pain during urination
  • Increased urinary frequency
  • Blood in urine
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Frequent bladder infections
  • Changes in urination

Steps toward prevention

If you experience any of the following signs, go see your doctor as the se may be indicative of an underlying problem or condition that should be treated.

  • Drink plenty of water, a minimum of eight to twelve glasses each day
  • Lose weight if you are overweight
  • Avoid or limit the use of nonprescription medicines, like those for cough/cold, diuretics, antidepressants and antihistamines when they aren’t necessary
  • Don’t smoke and avoid overconsumption of alcohol and coffee
  • Practice Kegel exercises daily (contracting the muscles that control urination)
  • Avoid constipation by eating many fruits, vegetables and whole grains

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