M.Ch - Urology, MS - General Surgery, MBBS
Urinary incontinence, commonly known as loss of bladder control can really cause embarrassment. The severity of this condition may range from once in a while leaky urine to the sudden and forceful urge to urinate, due to which you end up urinating before reaching the toilet.
Types of Urinary Incontinence:
- Stress Incontinence: When you feel the urge to urinate due to sneezing, coughing, laughing or while doing physical exercise
- Urge Incontinence: When you feel the urge to urinate, suddenly. This may occur during the day and even at night.
- Functional Incontinence: When you cannot reach the toilet on time because of a physical or mental impairment.
- Mixed Incontinence: When you involuntarily urinate due to more than one incontinence
Stress incontinence is the most common type in women. The activities which increase your risk, are:
You have had more than one pregnancy and vaginal delivery.
You have pelvic prolapse. This is when your bladder, urethra, or rectum slide into the vagina. Delivering a baby can cause nerve or tissue damage in the pelvic area. This can lead to pelvic prolapse months or years after delivery.
Female urinary stress incontinence is the involuntary release of urine during any physical activity that puts pressure on your bladder. This potentially embarrassing condition differs from general incontinence in that it happens when the body is under immediate physical stress. Activities that can put stress on your bladder include coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting heavy objects, or bending over. This condition is particular to women, many of whom experience symptoms after muscles have been weakened due to a vaginal childbirth, following menopause, or during pregnancy.
Ensure that you consult a doctor:
- If this condition hinders your day to day activities
- If the urinary incontinence is the result of a serious underlying problem
Causes of Urinary Incontinence:
Urinary incontinence may be temporary or permanent. Causes for temporary incontinence are-
- Caffeine and caffeinated drinks
- Decaffeinated tea or coffee
- Spicy and sugary foods
- High intake of Vitamin B or C
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
Causes for Permanent Incontinence are:
- Old age
- Prostate cancer
- Enlarged prostate
- Neurological disorders
Chronic urinary incontinence can lead to certain complications like:
- Skin Problems: Skin rashes and infections can develop around the vaginal area, because of the constant wetness one feels. It may also cause sores.
- Urinary Tract Infections: Urinary incontinence can also result in UTI
- Impact on Personal and Social Life: Urinary incontinence can lead to great embarrassment, thus affecting the social and personal life of an individual.
Treatment for Female Stress Urinary Incontinence:
There are several types of treatment available. Treatment options include lifestyle changes, medications, nonsurgical treatments, and surgeries.
- Lifestyle Changes: Make regular trips to the restroom to reduce the chance of urine leakage. Drink fewer fluids and avoid activities such as jumping and running.
- Medications: Medications that reduce bladder contractions.
- Nonsurgical Treatments: Kegel exercises strengthen your pelvic muscles. Done regularly, these exercises can strengthen your muscles, allowing you to control when urine is released from your body.
If other treatments fail, you will have to go for surgical treatment. Types of surgery include:
- injectable therapy, in which collagen is injected into your urethra to reduce incontinence
- tension-free vaginal tape (TVT) surgery, in which mesh is placed around the urethra to give it support
- vaginal sling surgery, in which a sling is placed around the urethra to support it
- anterior or para-vaginal vaginal repair surgery to repair a bladder that is bulging into the vaginal canal
- retropubic suspension surgery to move the bladder and urethra back into their normal positions
Some doctors even try electrical stimulation and medication. When the condition is highly advanced interventional therapies and surgery is recommended.
Some interventional therapies are:
- Bulking material injections
- Botulinum toxin Type-A
- Nerve stimulators