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What Causes Urinary Incontinence?
According to womenshealth.gov, roughly 15 million adult females in the United States alone live with urinary incontinence. However, this condition also affects men. If you experience leakage and want to do something about it, you should schedule an appointment with an OBGYN. The doctor can make a diagnosis and then recommend the right treatment.
Learn the causes
Knowing more about urinary incontinence can help an individual manage or prepare for it. This condition is a serious matter for many people. Discussing the different types of urinary continence with the doctor can familiarize the patient with the possible treatment options. There are seven distinct types of urinary incontinence, each with different symptoms and causes:
1. Stress incontinence
For this type, the “stress” factor has nothing to do with anxiety. Instead, there is pressure on the bladder. The most common causes include someone being overweight or obese, pregnant, and from several medical conditions. However, stress urinary incontinence is also the result of lifting heavy objects, exercising, and even sneezing.
2. Overflow incontinence
This type of urinary incontinence is the opposite of urine leakage. It makes it hard for people to empty their bladders. While it can affect women, it is more common in men. Waiting and struggling is a common part of the trip to the bathroom.
3. Functional incontinence
Functional urinary incontinence is a type that often affects the aging population. Most people have some kind of physical or mental illness. Arthritis and Alzheimer’s are common issues. In simple terms, individuals with this form of incontinence struggle to make it to the bathroom in time.
4. Urge incontinence
Also called an overactive bladder, urge urinary incontinence makes people feel as though they need to use the bathroom frequently. In fact, the urge is so intense that most cannot get to a toilet before leakage occurs. The cause in most people has to do with an injury to the muscles or nerves responsible for controlling the flow of urine. There are also a few medical conditions that can lead to this type.
5. Total incontinence
For total urinary incontinence, the most severe type, a person loses complete control over bladder function. As a result, they live with constant leakage. Passing and storing urine in the body is not normal for them. Some suffer from short-term leakage. Others have it long-term.
6. Mixed incontinence
This type of urinary incontinence is a combination of the stress type and an overactive bladder. Men can develop this, but it is more commonly seen in women. This type of incontinence is a combination of stress and urge incontinence. An individual may have urine leakage while exercising, laughing, sneezing, or coughing.
Learning that bedwetting is actually a form of urinary incontinence surprises many people. For children five years of age and younger, this is the result of an immature bladder. In other words, the bladder has not yet matured enough to prevent accidents. In some instances, an emotional factor comes into play with bedwetting. For instance, abused and neglected children can struggle with this particular type.
Stopping urinary continence
Putting an end to urinary incontinence can mean freedom for many people. An individual, who is free from leakage worries, can enjoy life more. Discussing the ways to control this condition with the attending doctor can help create an effective treatment plan. Below are some of the ways to stop urinary continence:
- Quitting smoking can lower one’s risk for incontinence. Smoking often results in coughing. This contracts the lower abdomen, which pushes urine out of the bladder. Stopping this habit can stop coughing as well.
- Performing daily pelvic floor exercises can help reduce leaks. Doing these exercises regularly for at least three months can give an individual stronger pelvic muscles. This can result in better urine storage.
- Treating constipation can prevent straining. When a person strains while defecating, the pelvic floor muscles weaken. This can worsen urinary incontinence. Changing one’s diet and lifestyle can improve one’s bowel movement. Consuming more fiber and performing regular exercise can treat constipation.
- Avoiding heavy lifting can prevent the pelvic muscles from straining. If lifting is necessary, tighten the pelvic floor muscles first.
Talk to your doctor
For females who experience bladder problems, it is important for them to speak with an OBGYN. For males, they should start by talking to their primary family physician. The good news is that for all types of urinary incontinence, there are viable treatments available. As part of the diagnosis, the doctor would determine if the patient has any underlying condition that might also require treatment.
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