Urinary incontinence is a common diagnosis for women of different ages. The muscles that control our urine flow weaken over time. It happens because we age, or through pregnancy, or even through heredity. There are several different types and there are treatments for urinary incontinence that can make a big improvement.
Types of Urinary Incontinence
Stress incontinence occurs when you do something that puts pressure on your bladder area. Examples are coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising, or lifting heavy weights.
Urge incontinence occurs when you get a sudden urge to urinate that you can’t control.
Overflow incontinence is a feeling of your bladder not emptying fully. Your urine comes out in drips, even if you’ve just gone to the bathroom.
Functional incontinence just means that there is some physical or mental issue which is preventing you from reaching the bathroom in time. For instance, if you know you have Parkinson’s disease, this disorder interferes with how nerves process feelings. In that case, you may not realize in time that you have to go.
An average woman may experience one or more of these types of incontinence at the same time. There are a variety of causes for this symptom. Drinking beverages that stimulate the urge to urinate, such as alcohol or caffeine, can exacerbate the urge to go quickly. Some medications can have the same effect. If your urinary tract has an infection, this can also cause the problem.
Treatments for Urinary Incontinence
Identifying the type of incontinence is essential to finding the right treatment. Exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor can alleviate symptoms from different types of incontinence. Kegel exercises are common exercises of this type. There is even physical therapy to help aid in pelvic floor strength training. Your doctor may suggest certain behavioral changes to have your body relearn what to do, such as going to the bathroom at a certain time whether you feel the urge or not.
More in-depth treatments include medications and devices that can be inserted. There are even surgical options.
Once urinary incontinence begins to affect your quality of life, it is time to seek help. Many women try to cover up the fact that they have urinary incontinence rather than seeking care.
It’s important to know that this is a diagnosis your doctor can evaluate and treat if you feel it is impacting your lifestyle.