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About Urinary Incontinence

What is Urinary Incontinence?

Bladder control relies on a combination of the muscle tissue of the urethra and bladder and the nervous system. Normally, a human bladder stores urine until you’re ready to void your bladder.

When you have urinary incontinence, also known as bladder incontinence, the bladder can’t store urine as easily. This can result in light urine leakage or dribbling or more severe and consistent urination.

What Causes Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence can result from various factors. This includes issues with the anatomy (such as bladder prolapse) and diseases (such as ALS, Spina Bifida, or multiple sclerosis), as well as developmental disabilities and special needs situations such as autism and Down’s syndrome. Additional conditions that can sometimes cause temporary or chronic urinary incontinence include but are not limited to childbirth and pregnancy, menopause, birth defects, pelvic floor weakness, brain injury or stroke, spinal cord injury, and nerve disorders.

mother holding baby
Pregnancy and childbirth may sometimes cause temporary or long-term urinary incontinence.


Types of Urinary Incontinence

Of the several types of urinary incontinence, stress, urge, and mixed incontinence account for more than 90% of urinary incontinence cases.

The 4 primary types of incontinence are:

1. Stress incontinence

Coughing, sneezing, and laughing may cause leakage.

2. Urge incontinence

This form of incontinence often means you have no control over urine loss and an urgent need to void.

3. Mixed Incontinence

This is typically a combination of both stress and urge incontinence.

4. Overflow Incontinence

The bladder never fully empties and constantly leaks.


Incidence and Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 1996, approximately 13 million people in the United States had urinary incontinence.

Urinary incontinence is more prevalent in women than in men. In the general population aged 15 to 64, 10-30% of women versus 1.5-5% of men are affected by urinary incontinence.

Additionally, at least 50% of nursing home residents are affected. Of that number, 70% are women.

Why do women seem to get urinary incontinence more commonly than men? It seems related to the difference between the male and female anatomy. Childbirth and pregnancy seem to affect the incidence of incontinence in women. According to one study, women who have had two or more vaginal deliveries are at higher risk of urinary incontinence.

However, men do suffer from bladder incontinence too.


elderly women sitting on a bench and in wheelchair
Elderly women have been found more likely to have urinary incontinence than men.

How is Incontinence Treated?

Treatment options for urinary incontinence depend on the type of incontinence as outlined below.

Multiple treatment options exist for the various types of incontinence, including urge urinary incontinence, stress urinary incontinence, and overflow urinary incontinence.

For example, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

  • Surgical treatment
  • Prescription medication
  • Injectables like  Botox
  • Self-catheterization with intermittent catheter products
  • Medical devices like a pessary or urethral insert
  • Incontinence supplies such as bladder control pads or adult diapers


Are There Lifestyle Changes That Can Help Incontinence Symptoms?

First, your doctor is the best source of medical advice. They may suggest options such as prescription medication, surgery, incontinence supplies, intermittent catheterization, or another treatment.

However, you do not need to worry. You may find that a few lifestyle changes may help reduce the incidence of urinary incontinence.

For example, your doctor may suggest avoiding substances, foods, and drinks that can irritate the bladder. Diuretics and bladder irritants include nicotine (tobacco), alcohol, and caffeine.

In addition, your doctor may also advise you to:

  • Avoid consumption of diuretics
  • Perform Kegel exercises daily
  • Eat a fiber-rich diet to avoid constipation
  • Retrain the bladder on a prescribed schedule
  • Stop smoking, vaping, or dipping

Management of Urinary Incontinence

In conclusion, your doctor is the best source of advice, diagnosis, and treatment options.

When it comes to finding a way to manage your incontinence issues, you have options. As technology continues to advance, more incontinence products become more discreet, convenient, comfortable, and even leak-proof.

In other words, you may find a product or a combination of incontinence products that will give you back a sense of independence and freedom again.

Some incontinence supply options include:

  • Underpads to protect mattresses, chairs, and other surfaces
  • Protective disposable underwear
  • Disposable diapers or adult incontinence briefs
  • Highly absorbent undergarments
  • Male guards and liners
  • Female bladder control pads
  • Male and female catheter products
  • Booster pads or inserts

If you’re insured by a waiver program through Medicaid of Florida or Georgia, 180 Medical is here for your incontinence supply needs.


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Call Toll-Free (877) 688-2729