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Innermost Secrets / Innermost Living / Body Clock
Skip Navigation LinksUrinary Incontinence
Page modified at: 05/08/2010

Urinary incontinence is the unintentional leakage of urine.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPE OF URINARY INCONTINENCE?

Stress Incontinence is the most common form of urinary incontinence, and is caused by physical exertion, such as sneezing or exercise. Stress incontinence is urine leakage that happens during activity that causes pressure (or "stress") on the bladder such as laughing, lifting, coughing or sneezing.

Urge incontinence is another form where the woman feels a strong need to urinate and cannot stop herself. Urge incontinence is urine leakage that occurs before a woman has a chance to get to the bathroom in response to an urge to urinate.

Women with this type of leakage may also experience frequent urges to urinate and frequent nighttime waking to urinate.

Mixed Incontinence. Some women have a mixture of both types called Mixed Incontinence.

 

HOW COMMON IS URINARY INCONTINENCE?

Urinary incontinence affects an estimated 5 million women in England and Wales aged over 20 and the rate may be over 50% in women after the age of menopause, yet the condition is largely a taboo subject. Urinary incontinence affects women at different ages - it can occur in women after pregnancy as well as in later years, often having a major impact on their day-to-day lives. Many women are too embarrassed to seek help from their GP, and often are not aware that effective treatments are available. Many women incorrectly assume that urine leakage is normal. While the problem of urine leakage is very common, it should never be considered normal.

WHAT CAUSES URINARY INCONTINENCE?

Urinary incontinence is a symptom, not a disease. This means that there are many possible causes of urinary incontinence. The key to treatment is identifying the specific type(s) of incontinence that a woman has through a careful medical interview and focused physical exam. It may also be necessary to perform special tests called urodynamics to diagnose the problem. Urodynamics are necessary if a woman is considering surgery to correct incontinence.

Stress Inconntinece occurs when the pressure inside the abdomen is increased such as during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing etc. The increased pressure in the abdomen is also applied to the bladder and if the normal sphincter like opening to the base of the bladder is weak and fails then urine leaks out.

WHAT CAN I DO TO PREVENT URINARY INCONTINENCE?

We don't fully understand all the factors that cause urinary incontinence, so it is difficult to recommend ways to prevent the problem. Pelvic muscle exercises (PME) - also known as Kegel exercises - are probably the best way to prevent stress incontinence.

WHAT TREATMENT IS AVAILABLE FOR URINARY INCONTINENCE?

Stress incontinence can be effectively treated with pelvic floor exercises, devices that "block" the loss of urine, or surgery

Urge incontinence is commonly treated with medications, biofeedback, or electrical stimulation to the nerves that control the bladder. There is even a new treatment for urge incontinence that involves placement of an electrical stimulator under the skin (similar to a pacemaker). The most important thing to remember is that there is a wide variety of non-surgical and surgical treatment options available for all kinds of urinary incontinence.

Tackling urinary incontinence

An overactive bladder is a problem that many women face in their lives. There are many different types of urinary incontinence, especially in women, that can affect their lives and their confidence. The most common form that women will find when they have an overactive bladder is stress urinary incontinence.

Stress urinary incontinence is usually brought on by overly exerting the body. A really hard sneeze or strenuous exercise is likely to bring on a bout of stress urinary incontinence. When strain is brought onto the bladder through pressure in forms of coughing, sneezing, heavy lifting, laughing or more, a leakage may occur in the bladder. The most common medical term for this is stress urinary incontinence.

Another form where women may experience on overactive bladder is through urge incontinence. Different from stress urinary incontinence, urge incontinence is a woman's desire to urinate which she may feel is uncontrollable. The urge may be apparent before she has chance to reach a bathroom, leading to serious embarrassment and waking constantly during sleep. An amalgamation of both types is usually referred to as mixed incontinence.

The problems associated with a weak bladder

A weak bladder can seriously affect confidence. Though both conditions are bad enough to suffer from, urge incontinence is a lot more public and can occur at any time. But for those who feel they need to keep their problem secret and are convinced they are the only sufferers, they needn't worry. Stress and urge incontinence affects approximately five million women over the age of twenty in England and Wales today.

Most women should be aware that suffering from an overactive bladder isn't a disease, it is merely a symptom. But like most symptoms, it can be hard to detect an underlying cause and there may be issues and triggers that bring the condition about.

Combating an overactive bladder

A stringent medical interview and physical examination is one of the best and most current ways to find out why a lady may have a weak bladder. Special tests can also be performed on an overactive bladder, called urodynamics, which can help to further pinpoint the problem, especially if the woman is considering surgery.

Preventing accidents when having a weak bladder, however, is still effectively a mystery in the medical world. It's hard to pinpoint what causes and how to solve a problem like a weak bladder. Most recommendations centre around Pelvic Muscle Exercises (PME) as a method of prevention.

This is an especially effective way to tackle stress urinary incontinence. Other ways to treat the condition include devices that can effectively block urine loss, or surgery. Tackling urge incontinence is an entirely different matter, however. There are a variety of different methods to prevent urge incontinence. These can range from medication, electrical stimulation and biofeedback.

There are many other ways in which a weak bladder can be treated, including methods such as electrical stimulators and many other non-surgical practices. To find out more about how to solve problems associated with a weak bladder, visit us today at Innermost Secrets.

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