Urinary incontinence is an embarrassing problem that affects a large portion of the population. Many patients do not seek medical attention, although there are some really effective ways to get rid of or reduce the embarrassing symptoms. Who is at risk for urinary incontinence problems? How can they be effectively treated?
Urinary incontinence – causes
Urinary incontinence, also known as incontinence, is a common problem. It is not only physical in nature, but also psychological and social. This condition is often so embarrassing that patients do not talk to their doctors about it. Nor do they receive adequate treatment. It is worth knowing that there are effective forms of therapy that can help relieve the symptoms. Urinary incontinence affects approximately 10 to 25% of women over the age of 30.
In men, this symptom occurs on average half as frequently. Nevertheless, the frequency of its occurrence increases gradually with age. After the age of 50, incontinence affects one in three women. There are different possible causes of urinary incontinence. Most often, the functioning of one of the elements of the urinary tract is disturbed. If this system is functioning properly, the urine produced by the kidneys gradually moves to the bladder. It doesn’t go out without knowing it, thanks to the pelvic floor muscles around the urethra. When the bladder is full, we feel the need to urinate.
Then the pelvic floor muscles relax, while the bladder contracts, allowing the urine to flow out. By becoming more aware of the mechanism of urination, you will better understand how to treat this problem. The onset of a urinary incontinence problem is influenced by factors such as:
– previous pregnancies and natural births
– Overweight or obesity;
– Genetic predisposition;
– advanced age;
– neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease.
Urinary tract infections, smoking, exercise, depression or poor diet are not thought to increase the risk of urinary incontinence.
Types and symptoms of urinary incontinence
Urinary incontinence, depending on the cause, can be classified as follows:
– Stress urinary incontinence
– Urge urinary incontinence
– Bladder overflow incontinence
– Extra-sphincter incontinence
Urgent urinary incontinence is the result of overactive bladder muscles. There is a very intense and even unmanageable urge to urinate. With this type of disease, urinary incontinence can also occur at night, not just during the day. Excessive incontinence occurs once the bladder is completely full. When the sphincters can no longer prevent urine loss, it is lost. Stress urinary incontinence is the most common form of this condition.
Thus, when we activate the abdominal pressure mechanism under the influence of physical effort, coughing or sneezing, the pressure on the urethra is so strong that it causes involuntary urination. Stress urinary incontinence does not cause a feeling of urgency, which is one of the characteristics of this type of disease. The severity of the incontinence problem varies. In some people, urine leakage occurs regardless of position and exertion, in others it occurs only with intense activity in an upright position.
Urinary incontinence in men and women can also be temporary. It occurs in healthy people who consciously control the urination process. In some situations, such as after taking diuretics, drinking caffeinated beverages or having a history of urinary tract infection, they experience a temporary problem with urine retention in the bladder.
Urinary incontinence in women and men – diagnosis
Urinary incontinence is not a disease in itself, but a symptom of an abnormality in the body. It is not only a very embarrassing problem. It considerably reduces the quality of life, and disrupts social and professional contacts. In each case, it is worthwhile to investigate the cause of these ailments and try to eliminate them with appropriate treatment. In order to make a correct diagnosis, it is necessary to take a very detailed medical history.
It is also useful to keep a special urination diary. The patient notes the amount and type of liquids that he/she drinks, as well as the situations and positions during which urine is emitted.
A gynecological examination is recommended for every patient who complains of urinating. In men, a prostate examination is performed. Another element of a correct diagnosis are laboratory tests – general examination and urine culture. Additional tests, such as the sanitary napkin test, stick test, cough test and urodynamic test, are useful in assessing the severity of urinary incontinence, as well as the effectiveness of treatment. In addition to being useful in determining the extent of the problem, they also play an important role in making decisions about surgical treatment.