Urinary incontinence is the leakage of urine or urinating involuntarily. Urine is released by a process called micturition where the detrusor muscles of the urinary bladder contract to empty the bladder. This is usually a voluntary action but when the muscular contractions become involuntary, incontinence occurs.
Urinary incontinence may be caused due to stress, pregnancy, obesity, weak pelvic muscles, alcohol intoxication or due to diseases like diabetes, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Children under the age of 5 experience incontinence most often. People above the age of 65 are also prone to the condition. The disorder is observed more in women than in men. The associated conditions of urinary incontinence are:
- Infection in the urinary tract: The risk of bacterial infection is increased due to incontinence and abnormally frequent urination. If you have had an infection in the urinary tract in the past, chances are that incontinence will cause repeated or chronic infectious diseases in the tract.
- Skin diseases: The skin is constantly wet and in continual contact with nitrous urinary toxins like urea, inorganic salts and compounds. So, over time, the skin becomes red and itchy. Rashes and sores may also develop. Sometimes, when you scratch the itchy skin too much, the capillary blood vessels may break and cause a petechial rash - red and brown spots - to appear on the skin.
- Anxiety: There is a constant feeling of shame that accompanies the disorder. Urinary incontinence, which is a common symptom of many medical conditions, is often, not reported to doctors. The patient often avoids socializing due to fear of being unable to control the micturition process in a social situation.
- Depression: Urinary incontinence affects the patient's psychological health directly due to the adverse impact on his or her quality of life. The amount of sleep is often decreased as the patient is afraid of urinating while being asleep. The condition may also cause restrictions on employment and other recreational activities.
- Sexual problems: Most women suffering from urinary incontinence report decreased sexual urges, painful intercourse and are even unable to achieve orgasm in spite of responding to sexual stimulation because of urinary leakage during intercourse leading to embarrassment and withdrawal.