What causes urinary incontinence in women? What is it a sign of? When should you see a doctor? How does it go? What’s good? You can find the answers to all these questions and much more below.
What is urinary incontinence in women?
Incontinence in women is the involuntary release of urine. This is a common problem in women, especially older women.
It is difficult to say exactly how many women have urinary incontinence because many women are too embarrassed to talk about it. If you have urinary incontinence (incontinence), it can be embarrassing and distressing for you and can affect every area of your life.
Some women stop going out or being physically active because of this. Urinary incontinence can affect your sex life and relationships, and sometimes even cause you to become depressed.
Many women don’t want help with this and feel compelled to put up with it, but there are many help options and in most cases, women’s urinary incontinence can be treated.
What are the types of urinary incontinence in women?
There are two main types of urinary incontinence in women:
- Sudden urge to urinate: This is when you feel the need to urinate without a sudden warning and it is difficult to delay, you need to go to the bathroom immediately.
- Stress incontinence: This is the involuntary leakage of urine when you sneeze, cough, or strain yourself.
You may also experience ‘mixed incontinence’, which means you have both stress incontinence and a sudden urge to urinate.
Overactive bladder is when you have the urge to urinate frequently, including at night. This condition sometimes causes urinary incontinence, but not always.
What causes urinary incontinence in women?
The cause of urinary incontinence in women depends on the type of incontinence they have.
Urinary incontinence occurs when the muscle of your bladder wall (detrusor muscle) contracts involuntarily. This causes you to feel the urgent need to urinate. This condition can develop as we age, or it can be caused by neurological conditions such as stroke or multiple sclerosis .
Some things that make stress-induced incontinence more likely include the following.
- Being pregnant and giving birth: Pregnancy or childbirth stretches and weakens your pelvic floor muscles, which can cause incontinence. Having a vaginal birth, having a cut in the perineum (the area between your vagina and anus) during childbirth, or having multiple pregnancies are all linked to stress urinary incontinence.
- Being overweight: Being overweight can cause many problems, as well as incontinence in women .
- Being constipated: It may be a cause of urinary incontinence if you experience constant constipation .
- Getting older: The older you get, the more likely you are to experience any type of incontinence.
- Other members of your immediate family have the same problem: This means you are genetically predisposed to incontinence.
- Prolapse: This is when one or more of the organs in your pelvis slide down (towards the vagina) from their normal position.
Also, causes of urinary incontinence in women include:
- Urinary tract infection
- consuming too much caffeine
- Parkinson’s disease
- prolonged cough
- strenuous activity such as weight lifting
What are the symptoms of urinary incontinence in women?
The symptom of urinary incontinence in women is involuntary leakage of urine. But this can vary quite a bit, from leaking a few drops to partially or completely emptying your bladder.
If you have a sudden urge to urinate , you will suddenly have an urge to go to the bathroom that you cannot delay. In such cases, you may not be able to reach the toilet on time. Some women may need to wake up and go to the bathroom before going to sleep or during the night to avoid incontinence.
If you have stress incontinence, the main symptom is incontinence when you do things like cough, sneeze, lift or exercise.
You may also have other symptoms such as:
- the need to urinate frequently
- Feeling of pressure in your vagina
- Urine leaking even after using the toilet
- pain when urinating
How is the cause of urinary incontinence in women diagnosed?
If you are leaking urine and it is upsetting or affecting your daily life, you should see your doctor. Your doctor will ask questions about your symptoms and medical history.
These questions help your doctor find out what type of urinary incontinence you are suffering from and rule out any underlying causes. Your doctor will also ask about any medications you are taking or may be taking.
He will then examine you. He or she will feel your tummy and possibly do an internal exam. During the internal examination, he or she will ask you to tighten your pelvic floor muscles. This can help to see how well your pelvic muscles are working.
Your doctor may ask you to keep a bladder diary for a while . This means that when you go to the bathroom, write down how much urine you pass and whether you have incontinence. It is best to fill out your diary on both work and non-work days to get a complete diagnosis.
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may test your urine to see if there is an infection. There may also be a need for more detailed types of examination, such as ultrasound.
What is good for urinary incontinence in women?
There are several things you can do to help manage your symptoms. Your doctor may suggest some of the following:
- Consume less caffeine
- staying at a healthy weight
- Drinking enough water (at least eight glasses a day)
- If there is a problem of constipation, to treat it
- avoiding strenuous exercise
- doing pelvic floor exercises
- Get bladder training
It may also be helpful to use female incontinence products such as:
- attaching pads to your underwear to absorb any leaks
- Using a handheld urinal
- Using devices placed in your urethra or vagina to prevent leaks
- Learning to self-catheterize (this involves inserting a thin, flexible tube into your urethra to drain urine as needed)
How is urinary incontinence treated in women?
Treatment of urinary incontinence in women usually starts with the least invasive treatments first. This is the above “ what good? This means trying other treatments before considering surgery, as well as lifestyle changes such as those listed in the ” section. The treatment you need depends on the type of urinary incontinence you have.
Stress urinary incontinence treatment
There are three main treatments for stress urinary incontinence in women.
- 1- Pelvic floor muscle training (Kegel exercises)
Your pelvic floor muscles help control your bladder and bowel. Strengthening and toning them using exercises can sometimes help with stress incontinence. You will be shown how to do these exercises, you will need to do them three times a day for three months to see if they help.
You can find more detailed information about Kegel exercises on the relevant page of the Medical Park hospital .
- 2- Medicines
There are some medications that can help treat female urinary incontinence, but these often cause side effects and are not usually given as first-line treatment. If you do not want to have surgery, your doctor may suggest that you take a medication. He will talk to you about the best medicine for your particular situation and will review it four weeks later to see if it works for you.
- 3- Surgery
There are several operations to treat stress urinary incontinence, depending on the cause. Your doctor may only recommend surgery if you’ve tried nonsurgical treatments first and they haven’t helped.
Treating the sudden urge to urinate
There are several different types of treatment for the sudden urge to urinate and the associated female urinary incontinence .
- Bladder training : This is usually the first treatment to try and you will be asked to do it for six weeks to see if it works. Training includes pelvic muscle exercises, extending the time between scheduled visits to the toilet, and distractions to help you control the urge to urinate.
- Anti-muscarinic drugs: These help prevent the detrusor muscle in your bladder from contracting when it shouldn’t and help your bladder hold more urine. The effect can last for about a month and may cause dry mouth and constipation, but these are signs that the medicine is working.
If these treatments don’t work, there are other options:
- Botulinum toxin: This is injected into the wall of your bladder and helps prevent the detrusor muscle in your bladder from contracting when it shouldn’t.
- Nerve stimulation: This involves sending electrical signals to the nerves that control your bladder.
- Surgery: Your surgeon may suggest enlarging your bladder or diverting urine from your bladder into a bag. Both are major operations and are used only if other treatments have not worked.
Every treatment for female urinary incontinence has risks and benefits. You should talk to your doctor about your treatment options and make sure you have all the information you need to decide which is best for you.
How to prevent urinary incontinence in women?
Being overweight, constipated, lifting too much weight, and consuming too much caffeine increase the likelihood of urinary incontinence in women . Therefore, if you are concerned about incontinence, you should try to maintain a healthy weight, eat healthy, and reduce the amount of strenuous exercise you do.