Urine incontinence is a condition experienced by millions of people worldwide, although the majority of sufferers are women. This is because women experience unique events in life that men don’t. It can be embarrassing but it happens to so many women it really shouldn't be something to be ashamed of.
Here are a few situations which can cause urine incontinence and some tips for dealing with it.
Pregnancy causes a lot of changes to a woman’s body. Some of these changes can result in urinary incontinence. In the first trimester of pregnancy, hormones change, which is often marked by a need to urinate more frequently. In the third trimester, the uterus, bladder and urethra can move to accommodate the growing baby, and the baby also places pressure on the bladder which also means an increased need to urinate frequently. These changes can also mean that the pelvic floor muscles are weakened, and you can experience stress incontinence.
This type of incontinence can mean that you notice a leak of urine when you sneeze, cough, laugh, or lift something. You can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles by performing kegel (pelvic floor) exercises regularly throughout the day.
Many women also use incontinence pads to help with stress incontinence. Make sure you source your products from a reputable, reliable supplier, like Hartmann Direct. You should also make sure you use products that are specifically for women, as men and women need protection in different areas. The fit and size of the pad is also important, as an ill fitting product can allow leakage.
Childbirth is physically demanding. It can also weaken the pelvic floor muscles, and these would already be under stress from the pregnancy. There is also the possibility of damage being caused to the sphincter muscles during the delivery, or you may need an episiotomy. Childbirth can result in stress incontinence, or urge incontinence. In urge incontinence you may experience a sudden need to urinate, or an over active bladder.
Pelvic floor exercises are recommended to build the pelvic floor muscles back up. You may also want to try bladder training, and limiting your intake of caffeine, and alcohol. Generally speaking, urinary incontinence is resolved shortly after childbirth through exercise, and lifestyle changes. In a small number of cases, it can require more medical intervention to control.
The menopause can also cause a number of changes to a woman’s body. During the menopause, the production of oestrogen reduces, and eventually stops. This change can, again, weaken the pelvic floor, but the lack of the hormone can also change the lining of the urethra.
Most often, women who experience incontinence have a combination of stress and urge incontinence. Menopause incontinence also incorporates both of these, but you could also have painful urination, or nocturia. Nocturia is when you need to get out of bed to go to the bathroom several times every night.
Menopause incontinence is also managed by continence care products, kegel exercise and lifestyle changes. In many cases, these treatment options are successful, although occasionally other treatments are necessary.
Bladder training may be recommended. This is when you train the bladder to be able to hold more urine, and lengthen the time between your bathroom visits. Some doctors recommend medical interventions, such as pessaries to hold the bladder up, or as a last resort, surgery to put the bladder in a better position.
Hormone replacement therapy is not an approved treatment for menopause related incontinence, but there is some anecdotal evidence that some women do experience improvement after beginning HRT.
The side effects of some medications can include incontinence. The type of medication can determine the type of incontinence you experience. For example, diuretics are engineered to reduce blood pressure by flushing the excess salt and water out of the body, which then reduces the amount of work the kidneys need to do.
However, this also means that you will be producing more urine, so you will need to visit the bathroom more frequently. This can lead to an over active bladder, and stress incontinence.
Other medications that can affect incontinence include antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, and ACE inhibitors. Some drugs can cause overflow incontinence, and others can cause you to become less aware of the need to urinate.