Urinary Incontinence


What is Urinary Incontinence?

Bladder control relies on a combination of the muscle tissue of the urethra and bladder as well as 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 isn’t able to store urine as easily. This can result in light urine leakage or dribbling or more severe and consistent urination.

What Causes Urinary Incontinence?

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

Urinary incontinence can result from various factors, including issues with the anatomy (such as bladder prolapse) and diseases (such as ALS, Spina Bifida, or multiple sclerosis).

Both temporary urinary incontinence and chronic urinary incontinence may be caused by:

  • Childbirth or pregnancy
  • Menopause or other hormonal changes
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Birth defects
  • Pelvic floor weakness
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Stroke
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Nerve disorders
  • Benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH)
  • Bladder muscle weakness
  • Vaginal prolapse

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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 primary types of incontinence are:

  • Stress incontinence: physical activity including coughing, sneezing, and laughing causes leakage
  • Urge incontinence: an urgent need to void without control over your urine loss
  • Mixed Incontinence: a combination of both stress and urge incontinence
  • Overflow Incontinence: the bladder never fully empties and constantly leaks

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Incidence and Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence

elderly women are more likely to suffer from incontinence
Elderly women have been found more likely to have urinary incontinence than men.

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

Urinary incontinence is more prevalent in women than in men.

In the general population aged 15 to 64 years old, 10-30% of women versus 1.5-5% of men are affected by urinary incontinence.

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 have an effect on 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.

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Treatment Options for Incontinence

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

Multiple treatment options exist for the various types of incontinence as outlined above, 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 or intermittent use of  catheter products
  • Medical devices like a pessary or urethral insert
  • Incontinence supplies

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Lifestyle Changes for Urinary Incontinence

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

However, you have no need to worry. In fact, you may find that a few lifestyle changes may help reduce the incidence of your 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 even 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

talk to your doctor
Talk to your doctor about your incontinence to get a proper diagnosis and an individualized treatment plan.

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, a number of protective devices and incontinence supplies are available to help you manage your urinary incontinence.

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 underwear
  • Disposable or reusable adult diapers or briefs
  • Highly absorbent undergarments
  • Male guards and liners
  • Female bladder control pads
  • Male and female catheter products
  • Booster pads or inserts

180 Medical is here for your incontinence supply needs. We understand that each person is an individual with unique needs and circumstances. That’s why our Incontinence Specialists fully listen to you to make sure we understand the severity of your urinary incontinence and any other issues you want to manage. We want to make sure you have the incontinence products that will suit you best.

We also offer skin care products that can be used along with your urinary incontinence supplies to prevent urinary tract infections or skin irritation.

 

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