Common urinary incontinence can be treated effectively with a variety of options.
Urinary incontinence is a common problem that affects millions of adults in the United States. This issue can result from several different factors and can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life.
Fortunately, a number of effective treatments have been developed to treat incontinence problems.
With proper care, most patients can achieve improvement in their incontinence problems, with the ability to engage in normal activities again, without worry or embarrassment.
The human urinary system consists of kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The sphincter is the circular muscle in the urethra that controls the release of urine from the bladder. When a dysfunction anywhere in the urinary system occurs, the individual may experience urgency and leakage of urine. Instead of the normal signal from the brain to the urinary sphincter to voluntarily release the urine, it may release continuously or when stress on abdominal organs causes it to be released. The problem can be serious enough to cause individuals to isolate themselves in order to avoid embarrassment.
Causes of Urinary Incontinence
Research indicates that a number of factors can increase the risk for urinary incontinence problems. Aging is one of the main factors, when muscle weakness and changes in tissues of the urinary tract are common. Pregnancy and birth are risks for incontinence, with this risk increasing as the number of births increase. Menopause, when estrogen levels drop in women, can also increase the risk for urinary incontinence. Men may develop urinary problems as a result of prostate issues. In addition, obesity in both genders can cause urinary incontinence, due to increased pressure on the abdominal structures and urinary system.
Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence
Individuals with urinary incontinence experience the release of urine from the bladder involuntarily. Stress incontinence can occur when the individual sneezes, coughs, bends, lifts or engages in exercise. Other individuals may experience “overactive bladder,” with the frequent need to empty the bladder even when it isn’t full. Overflow incontinence occurs mainly in men with prostate problems, when they are unable to empty the bladder completely or when urine flow is blocked. These issues cause increased social discomfort, with fears of wetting the clothing or leaving wet stains on furniture. It can be an embarrassing problem that many people feel uncomfortable mentioning to their physicians, but a variety of treatments are available to help with this problem.
Your urologist will order a variety of tests to determine the possible cause of the urinary problem. For some people, exercises to strengthen the urinary sphincter can be helpful for stopping leakage. Electrical stimulation is sometimes used to strengthen weak muscles of the pelvic floor. A number of medications, such as mirabegron, anticholinergic drugs, alpha blockers or topical estrogen may be used to treat incontinence problems. Botox or bulking materials may be injected into the urethra or urinary muscles to improve function. In addition, several devices, such as a the urethral insert or pessary, can be inserted to prevent leakage from the bladder. For severe cases, surgery may be necessary to improve the support of urinary structures to prevent leaking. Your physician will advise you on the best method of treatment for your individual needs.