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What is urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is the unintentional passing of urine which is a common problem affecting many people worldwide. It affects both men and women, but it tends to be more in women.

What are the signs and symptoms of urinary incontinence?

There are several types of urinary incontinence and the symptoms depend on the type you have.

Stress incontinence - Urine leaks out sometimes-when the bladder is under pressure, usually while coughing, sneezing, or laughing. Pregnancy and childbirth also stretch and weaken women’s pelvic floor muscles, overweight.

Urge incontinence or Overactive bladder (OAB) - with OAB, your brain indicates to empty the bladder even when it isn't full. Sudden involuntary contraction of the bladder muscles causes an urge to urinate that cannot be stopped. This may be caused by a sudden change in position, running water sound.

Mixed incontinence - symptoms of both stress and urge incontinence will be present.

Functional incontinence - problems related to mental and physical such as dementia or arthritis prevents the person from reaching the bathroom in time.

Overflow incontinence- when the bladder is not completely emptied, it can result in leaking.

Total incontinence - bladder cannot store urine

What causes urinary incontinence?

Stress incontinence is usually the result of weak pelvic floor muscles and a urethral sphincter.

Urge incontinence is the result of overactivity of the detrusor muscle which controls the bladder.

Other causes that increase the chances of urinary incontinence include- pregnancy and vaginal birth, obesity, family history, aging, constipation, urinary stones, enlarged prostate, cystitis, etc.

What factors increase the risk of urinary incontinence?

The factors that may increase risk are aging, pregnancy, delivery.

  • This can happen in both cesarean and vaginal delivery. Women who have urinary incontinence during pregnancy may develop afterward.
  • Women after menopause may develop due to the drop of estrogen.
  • Poor overall health may increase the risk.
  • People who have diabetes high blood pressure, smoking, and stroke.

What tests are performed to diagnose urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is usually diagnosed after consulting the doctor who can check about the symptoms and may carry out pelvic examination for women or rectal examination for men.

  • Urinalysis,
  • blood test,
  • PVR,
  • pelvic ultrasound,
  • stress test,
  • urodynamic testing,
  • cystogram, and
  • cystoscopy.

What treatment is given for urinary incontinence?

Treatment depends upon several factors like age, type of incontinence, general and mental health.

Initially, the doctor may suggest lifestyle changes like losing weight, cutting down alcohol, pelvic floor exercises also known as Kegel exercises, bladder training to control the urge.

If the condition persists and unable to manage the symptoms, then medications are prescribed.

Surgery can be performed depending upon the type of incontinence an individual is suffering from it.

Surgical treatments for stress incontinence such as sling procedures are performed to reduce pressure on the bladder.

To treat urge incontinence operations are done that include enlarging the bladder or implanting a device that stimulates the nerve that controls detrusor muscles.

How do you prevent urinary incontinence?

It is not very simple to control urinary incontinence, but some steps can reduce the chance of developing it by

  • controlling weight,
  • avoid smoking and alcohol,
  • Kegel exercise,
  • try to keep pelvic floor muscles strong.
  • Avoid heavy lifting
  • Treat constipation promptly
  • Consume 6-8 glasses of water

Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital

Address: Rao Saheb, Achutrao Patwardhan Marg, Four Bungalows, Andheri West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400053

Phone: +91-98 88 66 22 00

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