Meaning of Urinary Incontinence is ‘losing the control over your urination’. It can be as small as a drop leak when you sneeze or cough or it can be as big as wetting your pants completely. Urinary incontinence can be a very embarrassing issue for the sufferer. It can happen in children as well as in adults but it is more common in the older adults or the seniors. Urinary incontinence must not be ignored as it can keep on increasing thereby making the problem worse and treatment difficult.
In this article your are going to learn about
- Meaning of Urinary Incontinence
- Types & Causes of Urinary Incontinence
- Urine Incontinence Symptoms
- Urine Incontinence Treatment
Meaning of Urinary Incontinence
Incontinence means inability to contain the urine inside. It can come out as a leak or with full flow. You may feel like emptying the bladder every hour or you may feel that you are unable to pass the urine fully. All these problems come under the urine incontinence.
Types & Causes of Urinary Incontinence
1. Stress Incontinence
As the name suggests, the urine leaks due to some stress on your tummy. It does not necessarily mean that you are suffering from Urine incontinence issue unless it starts happening frequently. Some people may experience leakage of urine with cough, sneeze, intense laughter or with intense pressure on abdomen etc, these can be completely normal or can point towards another issue. Stress incontinence can occur due to Diabetes, chronic cough, pregnancy, constipation, obesity etc.
2. Urge Incontinence
In this type of urine incontinence, the bladder feels more full. This leads to a frequent urge to urinate. You may feel like you have to pee urgently but when you start doing your business, there isn’t enough to void. This type of incontinence happens in old age and it increases with the consumption of tea,coffee and aerated drinks. The high caffeine content in them is the culprit behind this urge but not the solo reason always.
3. Blockage Incontinence
In this type of incontinence the bladder doesn’t empty properly due to any blockage in the urine pipe or around it. This can be due to enlarged prostate, nerve damage, pelvic floor muscle weakness, diabetes and Parkinson etc. The problem gets treated once the blockage is removed. Full flow of urine is attained in most cases.
4. Functional Incontinence
This type of incontinence is due to physical or mental issues with patient. It can be either the inability to communicate about the requirement to pee, cerebral palsy, dementia and other neurological problems. It also occurs in patients who are unable to find the toilet in time or unable to reach the bathroom due to arthritis or unable to unbutton the pants due to deformities in hands. Such patients need some ergonomic advice to solve this problem such as remodeling of house to ease the access to bathroom, zips instead of buttons in the pants and so on.
So some most common causes of urinary incontinence are
- Delivery (more chances of UI in vaginal delivery)
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
- Enlarged Prostate
- Old age
- Obstruction in the urine passage such as stones
- Neurological disorders such as Parkinson
- Arthritis leading to functional incontinence
- High doses of Vitamin C
- Excessive consumption of Caffeinated and aerated drinks etc
Urinary Incontinence Symptoms
The most common symptoms of urinary incontinence are
- Frequent leakage of urine with sneeze, laugh, cough and weight lifting or sport
- Not feeling relieved even after peeing
- Flow of urine is not full and it just dribbles
- It takes more time to urinate than usual
- The frequent urge to urinate frequently
- you look for the nearest washroom whenever you go outside
- There is urine leakage or dribbling of urine after urinating
Treatment of Urinary Incontinence
1. Treating the Urinary Tract Infection
It leads to treatment of urinary incontinence as well. The most commonly used treatment of mild to moderate UTI is Cranberry Juice, Cranberry Capsules, lots of water to wash out your bladder and the infection. read the tips of preventing a urinary tract infection here.
2. Constipation must be treated
You must not strain your bowels while emptying them. The excess strain can weaken the bladder muscles which can worsen or create the urinary incontinence. The easiest method to treat constipation is the consumption of Triphala Bowel Wellness Tablets or any laxative prescribed by your physician.
3. Dietary Changes
Urinary incontinence can be treated or managed by making some dietary changes such as
- less caffeine intake (tea, coffee, caffeinated drinks)
- Cut the Spices
- Curb Alcohol
- Add more fiber in diet (add some most amazing and easy to make salads in your diet)
- Replace aerated drinks with water
- Add a serving of Fruits in your daily routine (don’t forget to make them pesticides free with this simple tip)
4. Lifestyle changes
As obesity one of the main reason of urinary incontinence, maintaining a healthy weight is very important. You can choose exercises, walking, diet charts or Pranayaam/breathing exercises. Anything that seems less daunting to you must be followed in order to stop the leaks. Also you must stop smoking as it is another factor that triggers incontinence.
5. Get Your Medicines Monitored
Make sure you are not taking high doses of vitamin C and get your other medicines monitored by a health care professional. As some medicines are known to cause urinary incontinence and it gets treated as soon as those medications are stopped or replaced.
6. Pelvic floor Muscles exercises/ Kegels Exercises
Pelvic floor muscles control our urine outflow. The weakness of these muscles can lead to the incontinence issue. The latest studies suggest that the pelvic floor muscle exercises work better than the medication in urinary incontinence(2). So the exercises are a must , in order to learn to squeeze the pelvic floor muscles, try to stop the flow of urine while you are urinating. The muscle you used to stop the urine flow are the pelvic floor muscles. These exercises are also known as Kegel’s exercises.
- After you have learnt how to squeeze the muscles
- then start doing them when you are NOT urinating
- Just acquire the position of your choice (sit or lie down or stand up)
- Now squeeze and release the muscles, do it 10 to 15 times in one go.
- After 3 days of doing so, start holding the squeeze for 3, 5 or 10 seconds, depending upon your capacity and power.
- You need to do these holds 10 to 15 times in one go and do it three times a day.
- It will take about 45 days to regain full strength in your pelvic floor muscles but you will start seeing the improvement within 3 to 5 days.
- Still confused? Consult your physiotherapist or ask us your query in comment section below.
7. Choose the Right Exercise for you
Always consult your gym instructor or your physio before doing any exercises. Some exercises that you must avoid are sit ups and weight-lifting. Pilates are a good option for incontinence patients and they must be performed under the supervision of a healthcare provider.
8. Don’t Limit Your Liquid Intake
People who have incontinence start to cutting on the liquid intake which is a big mistake. As it can further weaken the bladder muscles and they lose the strength to hold even the small amount of pee (3). So don’t limit your liquid intake unless advised by your urologist.
9. Be Prepared For “Accidents”
Urinary incontinence takes a toll on your social as well as personal life. Even if you are getting the treatment , always be prepared for leak accidents. It is advised to carry an extra pair of essentials whenever you go out. Also keep a urine pad and some clean clothes with you to avoid any embarrassment if you are out in public.
Let’s Fight Urinary Incontinence! Don’t hesitate to consult a medical practitioner/urologist. UI is easily treatable and the treatment can save you from a great deal of agony and anxiety. Always ask for help and stand up for yourself.
Hoping for your Good Health and a Strong Urinary Control!
Note – The writer of this article is a physical therapist. However we advise you to consult your health care provider before following any remedy or suggestion in this article.