Urinary incontinence – urine leakage without any reason – is embarrassing for anyone. Imagine you are laughing with your colleagues, and suddenly you feel urinary dribbling. Embarrassing, right?
More than that, it poses the question of why urine leakage happens and what is urinary incontinence treatment.
We will explore everything about urinary incontinence, the causes of urine leakage in men and women, and urinary incontinence treatment. Keep on reading.
What is Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary incontinence (UI) is when an individual experiences the involuntary loss of urine. It can range from occasional leakage to a complete inability to control the bladder.
But first, what does incontinence mean literally?
Incontinence means the involuntary loss of control over a bodily function, such as bladder or bowel control. Incontinence can occur due to various factors, including weakened muscles, nerve damage, injury, or medical conditions affecting the bladder or bowel.
Urinary incontinence can affect people of all ages, but it is more common in older adults, particularly women, due to gynecological reasons.
What are the Types of Urinary Incontinence?
Stress incontinence happens during physical activity, such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising. It occurs when the muscles that support the bladder and urethra get weak. According to research, stress UI is the most prevalent type of urinary incontinence.
Urge incontinence happens with a sudden, intense urge to urinate, followed by an involuntary loss of urine. It occurs when the bladder muscles contract too often or too strongly.
This type of incontinence occurs when the bladder cannot empty itself completely, causing urine to overflow. It happens due to an obstruction in the urinary tract or nerve damage that affects bladder function.
This type of incontinence is a combination of stress and urge incontinence. It is common in older adults.
This type of incontinence occurs when a person is physically or mentally unable to reach the toilet in time, even though their bladder is functioning normally. It happens due to diseases like arthritis, dementia, or mobility problems.
This type of incontinence is rare and involves a complete inability to control urine. It occurs due to an anatomical defect or injury, such as a fistula between the bladder and vagina.
Urinary Incontinence Causes: Why Does it Happen?
Urology experts at Ittefaq Hospital suggest UI can affect both genders. UI can happen to you if:
You Have Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles
Pelvic floor muscles are responsible for controlling the bladder and sphincter muscles. Weak pelvic muscles can lead to urinary leakage.
Due to Neurological Disorders
Neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke can affect the nerves that control the bladder and lead to UI.
Prostate Problems in Men
Men with an enlarged prostate may experience UI due to pressure on the bladder. Read more about foods to avoid for good prostate health.
Urinary Tract Infections in Both Genders
Infections in the urinary tract can irritate the bladder and cause leakage.
Side Effects of Certain Medications
Specific medications such as diuretics, alpha-blockers, and sedatives can cause UI as a side effect.
If You Have Chronic Coughing
Chronic coughing due to medical conditions like asthma, bronchitis, or smoking can weaken the pelvic floor muscles and cause UI.
During Pregnancy and Childbirth in Females
Urinary Incontinence causes in females mostly point towards the pregnancy period. Pregnancy and vaginal childbirth can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, causing UI.
Aging: The Most Common Factor
Aging can weaken the pelvic floor muscles and affect bladder control.
Urinary Incontinence Symptoms: What Does it Feel Like?
UI symptoms may vary depending on the underlying cause, severity, and individual experience.
Some common symptoms of urinary incontinence include:
- Leaking urine during physical activities such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising
- Feeling a sudden and urgent need to urinate and being unable to hold it until reaching the bathroom
- A weak urine stream, difficulty starting urination, or incomplete emptying of the bladder
- Having to urinate frequently, usually more than eight times a day
- Waking up multiple times during the night to urinate
- Wetting the bed at night
Urinary incontinence can cause embarrassment and anxiety and affect daily activities, relationships, and quality of life.
Urinary Incontinence Treatment: How to Deal With It at Home?
You can manage UI symptoms at home in several ways. Here are some strategies that you can try:
These exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that help control the bladder. Tighten the muscles you would use to stop urinating, hold for a few seconds, and then release. Repeat 10-15 times in a row, several times a day.
Read more about Kegel exercises for Men to understand the process.
Limit the fluids you consume before bed, and avoid alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated drinks, as they can irritate the bladder.
Schedule bathroom breaks every 2-4 hours to prevent accidents and gradually increase the time between breaks.
After urinating, wait a few moments and then try to urinate again. It can help empty the bladder more completely.
Maintain a healthy weight, quit smoking, and avoid activities that pressurize the bladder, such as heavy lifting or high-impact exercise. You can use absorbent pads or underwear because they can help manage leaks and protect clothing.
Foods and Drinks to Avoid
Certain foods and drinks may exacerbate urinary incontinence symptoms by irritating the bladder or increasing urine production. Therefore, you should modify your dietary habits:
- Coffee: Caffeine is a diuretic that increases urine production and irritates the bladder. It is present in coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate.
- Alcohol: Alcohol is another diuretic that increases urine production and can cause dehydration. It can also irritate the bladder and worsen UI symptoms.
- Spicy and Acidic Foods: Spicy and acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and spicy foods, can irritate the bladder and worsen UI symptoms.
- Artificial Sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame can irritate the bladder and worsen urine leakage.
- Carbonated Drinks: Carbonated drinks like soda can irritate the bladder and cause UI.
- High-Sugar Foods: High-sugar foods such as candy and sugary drinks can cause dehydration and worsen urinary incontinence symptoms.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and avoid constipation, which can exacerbate urinary incontinence symptoms.
Consult a Doctor: When Does it Become Necessary?
When should you seek medical advice for urinary dribbling?
If your incontinence persists or worsens despite home remedies, consult a well-known Urologist. They can recommend medication, surgery, or other treatments depending on the cause of your incontinence.
You might find it awkward to bring up incontinence with your doctor. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to seek medical care if incontinence occurs frequently or negatively impacts your quality of life because urinary incontinence may impact your ability to engage in certain hobbies and social interactions and negatively affect your standard of living.