Urinary incontinence is the involuntary release of urine, and it is a common problem affecting women. Some women leak urine when they sneeze, cough, or exercise; while some have an urge to urinate that is so strong and sudden that they can not make it to the bathroom in time. If urinary incontinence affects your normal day, talk to your doctor. In many cases, treatment options are simple and highly effective.
There are three common types of urinary incontinence. The first is Stress Incontinence. This type of incontinence is the loss of urine when pressure is exerted on the bladder by coughing, sneezing, exercising, or lifting a heavy object. Stress incontinence occurs when the bladder muscles are weakened. The most common cause of stress incontinence is pregnancy and childbirth. The weight of pregnancy causes the bladder to weaken, and then during childbirth areas around the bladder become stretched.
Urge incontinence is a second type of urinary incontinence. This is related with a sudden, intense urge to urinate that can not be controlled. The bladder will warn a person that release is about to happen with a few contractions, but a person will t typically only have a few seconds to make it to a toilet. Urge incontinence is related with urinary tract infections, Parkinson’s disease, bowel problems, Alzheimer’s, and stroke. If there is no known cause, it is commonly referred to as “overactive bladder.”
Thirdly, there is Overflow Incontinence. This is when a person has the inability to empty the bladder. When urinating, there may only be a slow stream of urine; and it may feel that the bladder will never fully finish.
Don’t worry about feeling embarrassed or self-conscious talking to your doctor about urinary incontinence. If it is affecting your quality of life, there are steps that can be taken to help you.
Posted on behalf of Sean Lambert M.D., North Pointe OB/GYN Associates