The word incontinence means ‘not controlled well’. Urine incontinence is a disorder where the bladder is not controlled well and urine starts leaking. People of all ages are affected by this UI. However, it is found that 38% of women and 17% of men 60 years and above is most vulnerable.
The contributors of this disorder in a woman include: pregnancy and delivery, menopause, birth defects, aging process, neurologic injury, strokes and multiple sclerosis.
There are many types of urinary incontinence.
Stress incontinence: Cough, sneeze, laugh or lifting heavy things and exercising or standing up cause urine leakage due to the pressure exerted on the bladder. Pregnancy, childbirth and menopause cause stress in women. In men removal of the prostate gland leads to stress incontinence. Any pressure creating activity increases the urine loss especially when the bladder is full.
Urge incontinence: The urge to urinate comes suddenly and there is very less time to reach a toilet. This may be caused by urinary tract infections, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, injury, damaged nervous system and bladder irritants. Urge continence is also known as overactive bladder.
Overflow incontinence: Here the bladder is not emptied completely and there is a frequent or constant dribble of urine. People with damaged bladder, damaged nerve from diabetes and blocked urethra experience this type of incontinence.
Mixed incontinence: This is identified if a patient has symptoms of more than one variety of urinary incontinence.
Functional incontinence: People who are in hospital for some physical or mental ailments experience this kind of incontinence. They are unable to reach a toilet quickly or unbutton their pants fast because of their illness.
Total incontinence: People experience incontinence constantly day and night or there is large volume of urine leakage periodically.
Factors that cause temporary Urinary incontinence:
Intake of large quantities of fluids and caffeine in a short period increases the Urinary incontinence. Alcohol also stimulates the bladder and creates a need to urinate.
Medicines taken for heart diseases, blood pressure, sedatives, and muscle relaxants may also irritate bladder. Other culprits include urinary tract infection and constipation.
Causes for persistent urinary incontinence:
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Weakening of bladder with aging
- Neurological disorders
- A tumor along urinary tract which blocks the normal flow of urine. Urinary stones formed in the bladder obstruct the easy flow of urine resulting in incontinence.
Good news is that this is not a disease. Urinary incontinence is caused due to our everyday habits, medical conditions and physical inabilities. An open talk with your medical practitioner can help you find out the cause for this problem. A simple change can relieve you from this embarrassing disorder.
Prevention is not always possible with Urinary incontinence; we can keep it at bay by following these steps:
Maintain an ideal weight: Obesity may exert extra pressure on the bladder making it weak and you are prone to develop urinary incontinence. Various studies show that the relation between Body Mass Index and incontinence is strong.
Stop smoking: Heavy smokers who smoke about 20 cigarettes per day are the most vulnerable. Get help if you want to quit smoking.
Practice Kegel exercise: These exercises are helpful to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. First contract your pelvic floor muscles. Identifying the right muscle is essential. Prolong the contraction for five seconds to start with. Finally relax for 5 seconds. Gradually increase the Contraction for 10 seconds and relax for 10 seconds. Three sets of 10 repetitions a day will reduce the frequency of urinary incontinence. Seek your doctor’s help to do this exercise effectively.
Some lifestyle changes will also act as preventive measures. Doctors name them as “behavior therapies”. These strategies are easy to follow, inexpensive, effective and very safe. Sometimes these behavior therapies are more effective than medication. Start yoga or meditation to have a stress-free life.
Too much or too little fluid intake is not at all good. Avoid taking more fluids at night. Instead take more fluids in the morning and afternoon. Intake of large quantities of fluids and caffeine in a short period increases the Urinary incontinence. Alcohol also stimulates the bladder and creates a need to urinate.
Urinary tract infection is also a cause for urinary incontinence. When you have urinary tract infection, your doctor may advice you to take more fluid. Balance in the intake of fluids by taking more fluids during the day time and less at night.
Bladder irritants foods:
Bladder irritation can be caused by spicy foods and beverages. Fruits high in sugar and acid like citrus and tomatoes also act as bladder irritants. Carbonated drinks, artificial sweeteners, corn syrup can aggravate the bladder. Restrict foods that act as bladder irritants. Keep away from caffeine and alcohol for a week and see if the symptoms improve. You need not cut down all your favorite food. Eating less quantity will also help.
Medicines taken for heart diseases, blood pressure, sedatives, and muscle relaxants may also irritate bladder.
Start using the toilet in regular intervals even if you don’t have an urge to urinate. Don’t wait for the bladder to fill. Step by step, increase the gap between urination. Every time you urinate, be patient and empty your bladder completely.
When you feel the urge to urinate, do some relaxation exercises like breathing slowly and deeply and surely this will help you postpone the urge to urinate.
Add more fiber:
Make it a point to include more fiber in your food. Have a salad- vegetable or fruit- with every meal. Vegetable with lots of fiber and fruits are most recommended. This way you can prevent constipation, which plays a vital role in urinary incontinence. Fiber supplements can also help.
Exercising regularly not only improves general health, it also helps reducing the risk of developing incontinence.
People with damaged bladder, damaged nerve from diabetes and blocked urethra experience urinary incontinence. Have a check on your sugar level. Take the medicines regularly and practice a regime of regular exercise.
People who have this disorder feel embarrassed to go out and restrict their social interactions. They may think that they can manage themselves by using absorbent pads, taking extra clothes. They even stop drinking liquids to avoid wetting their clothes and face the risk of dehydration.
But now there are better ways to deal this disorder and medications are also available. Talk to your doctor so that you can be active again and lead a confident, joyful life.
published in Instamedia.com