Women often experience an extreme urge to urinate or leak a little urine when they laugh, sneeze, or exercise. Of course, urinary incontinence can be embarrassing and frustrating, but it’s completely normal and extremely common.
Research suggests up to 25% of young women, 44-57% of middle-aged women (including post-menopausal women), and 75% of older women experience some involuntary urine loss. Women do have a much higher incidence of urinary incontinence compared with men, and there’s plenty you can do about it.
Types of urinary incontinence
Urinary incontinence isn’t just a singular problem. You may suffer from different types or a combination of types. Sometimes, incontinence results from a functional reason — such as arthritis. You just can’t make it to the restroom in time or unbutton your pants quickly enough.
Urge incontinence results from abnormal contractions of the bladder muscle. You feel an immediate, intense urge to use the restroom followed by an involuntary loss of urine. You may experience urge incontinence in response to a urinary tract infection or as a result of a condition, such as diabetes.
Stress incontinence refers to leaking that occurs when you endure stress, such as laugh, lift something heavy, or sneeze. This may result from mild damage to your pelvic muscles that occurs during pregnancy and childbirth or the effects of aging.
Overflow incontinence is another type that occurs when you have a constant dribble of urine, even after you’ve used the restroom. Usually this is a result of a bladder that doesn’t fully empty.
Reasons for incontinence
Women are more likely to experience urinary incontinence because of the pressure pregnancy and giving birth put on their bodies. While you’re carrying a baby, the weight of the fetus can put pressure on your muscles that causes stress incontinence. Labor and delivery weaken muscles responsible for holding your urine and make you vulnerable to organ prolapse — when the bladder, uterus, or small intestine get pushed down into your vagina.
As you get older, your bladder’s capacity may change and involuntary contractions of the bladder become more common. Menopausal women produce less estrogen, a hormone that promotes bladder lining and urethra health. A woman who’s had a hysterectomy may experience incontinence because the procedure may affect pelvic floor muscles.
Help is available
Urinary incontinence is common, but at IBI Healthcare Institute, we’re available to reduce or resolve your symptoms. Something as simple as changing your diet — reducing caffeine intake, for example — can help reduce urinary urges.
Other lifestyle changes, such as learning to double void, or urinate and then wait a few minutes and urinate again, helps. Moreover, scheduling toilet trips and bladder training are ways we can help you learn to manage urinary incontinence.
Vaginal support devices such as pessaries and slings may help in more severe cases. Physical therapy that builds up the muscles of the pelvic floor to help you better control contractions of the bladder and support urges also helps. In some cases, surgical intervention is the solution.
Our clinic takes special care to systematically assess and compare multiple treatment options available for urinary incontinence. By doing so, we aim to effectively restore a normal quality of life and significantly reduce embarrassing incidents.
Call our office or schedule a consultation to get very real, practical, and effective solutions to your incontinence problems.