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What you should know about urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence is the inability to hold urine in the bladder because of loss of control of the bladder. The severity may range from temporary to chronic, depending on the cause of this disease. Urinary incontinence is more common in women than men and can be categorized into three types.
Types and symptoms of urinary incontinence
Stress incontinence: this incontinence may occur while participating in any physical activity such as a sudden cough, laugh, sneezing or exercising. The stress here refers to the sudden physical pressure that a person experiences, leading him/her to urinate involuntarily.
Urge incontinence: a sudden, involuntary contraction of the muscular wall of the bladder causes an urgency to urinate. This urgency can be formed by a sudden change in position or sex.
Overflow incontinence: this is more common in men with prostate gland problems, damaged bladder or blocked urethra. The person has an urge to urinate frequently but in small amounts.
Causes of urinary incontinence
There are a number of causes of urinary incontinence ranging from aging to cancer and physical damage to the neurological disorder.
1. Aging: with age, the bladder muscle weakens and the chances of incontinence increases.
Damage: since the pelvic muscles support the bladder any damage to it (surgery or any procedure to remove the uterus) can lead to urinary incontinence.
2. Enlarged prostate: enlargement of the prostate gland in older men may give rise to this condition.
Cancer: urinary incontinence may be associated with untreated prostate cancer, which is a side effect of treatments for it.
3. Menopause: estrogen is a hormone that keeps the lining of bladder and urethra healthy. After menopause the production of estrogen is decreased, increasing the chances of urinary incontinence.
4. Prevention: urinary incontinence is not preventable but some steps can be taken to reduce the risk of it. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, avoiding smoking, practicing pelvic floor exercises, avoiding caffeine and acidic foods and eating more fiber to prevent constipation can help decreasing the risk of it.