Urinary incontinence is the term used to describe involuntary leakage of urine from the bladder. It can be embarrassing especially if it happens frequently and in social situations. People who have urinary incontinence, may avoid going out and being in any situation where an accidental leakage may occur, making them reclusive and leading to depression.
It is also an unhygienic and unhealthy condition as urine leakage can seep into wounds, and if not taken care of and cleaned up immediately, may cause sores and boils in the area, leading to infections and inflammation.
What causes urinary incontinence?
Usually urinary incontinence is a symptom of an underlying health issue. These can include:-
• Medical problems like urinary infection, cancers, neurological conditions and constipation
• Bodily changes due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, obesity and age
• Too much of certain foods, carbonated drinks and alcohol
How is urinary incontinence diagnosed?
This could include:-
• Occurrences of UTIs
• Bowel movements
• Medication that you may be having
• Medical health
• Rectal exam
• Pelvic exam (for women)
• A stress test may be given where you will be asked to cough to check if you have urine leakage.
These are done to check for underlying health problems to check your kidneys and other organ functions.
Bladder function test
This can give the doctor an idea of how well your bladder and urinary tract are functioning.
This requires a urine sample which will be tested for any kind of infection, kidney problems and diabetes.
Can urinary incontinence be cured?
In many situations, if the underlying problem goes away, the urinary incontinence may also pass. In other cases, certain lifestyle changes can help manage the problem. The treatment will depend on how severe the condition is and what is causing it.
Changes in lifestyle to manage urinary incontinence
• Bladder training – A technique where you delay urination for longer periods till you actually habituate your bladder to hold the urine longer.
• Double voiding – Learning to empty the bladder completely when you go to the toilet.
• Schedule toilet trips
• Manage fluid intake
• Manage diet
• Pelvic floor muscle exercises
If these basic techniques don’t work, your doctor may recommend:-
• Electrical stimulation
• Certain medical devices
Most often, though it is embarrassing, urinary incontinence is more of an embarrassing health issue than a serious health problem. But it should not bring down the quality of your life. If you do suffer from this awkward health issue, seek help and live a healthier and better life.