There are several types and treatments for each.
It’s not unusual to lose a drop of urine after a belly laugh or a forceful sneeze, particularly if you’ve had children. But for millions of people in the United States, urinary incontinence is no laughing matter.
Leaking urine when you laugh, sneeze or exercise is known as stress urinary incontinence, and it can interfere with daily activities. Urge urinary incontinence, meanwhile, can keep people from going anywhere that lacks a readily available restroom. You have mixed incontinence if you have elements of both stress and urge incontinence.
There are other forms of bladder leakage, including functional urinary incontinence, which happens when a medical condition prevents you from making it to the bathroom on time. Overflow incontinence is due to chronic incomplete bladder emptying. Urinary fistulas, an abnormal hole in the urinary tract also can cause incontinence. The treatment will depend on the type.
While both men and women can lose bladder control, women experience it twice as often as men, reports the U.S. Library of Medicine. Stress, urge, and mixed incontinence account for over 90 percent of cases of urinary incontinence in women.
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) occurs when there is pressure on the bladder that it can’t resist. The pressure could come from heavy lifting, exercising, coughing or laughing. For some, just standing up is too much pressure.
Regardless of whether the stress is mild or severe, you might lose a dribble of urine or a significant amount. You might not feel an urge to go to the bathroom before it happens.
Risk factors include:
If you are overweight, losing weight can make a difference. Pelvic floor exercises, known as Kegel exercises, can strengthen the pelvic floor. You need to squeeze and relax the muscles repetitively daily. Talk to your health care provider to make sure you’re doing Kegel exercises correctly.
Nonsurgical treatments include:
Surgical treatments are typically minimally-invasive outpatient procedures with little downtime.
ChristianaCare Center for Urogynecology and Pelvic Surgery provides all of these treatments.
Often referred to as an overactive bladder (OAB), urge urinary incontinence happens when your brain tells your bladder that you have to go, but your bladder isn’t full. Or, the bladder muscles are contracting too frequently. In either case, you feel as though you need to continually go to the bathroom.
About 33 million Americans have OAB, according to the Urology Care Foundation. The risk of developing OAB rises with age, but that doesn’t mean it should be an accepted part of the aging process.
Your health care provider will first look for an underlying cause, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI). If you do not have a UTI, you might find relief with lifestyle and behavioral changes, such as:
Your doctor may recommend several tests and procedures, including:
At the ChristianaCare Center for Urogynecology and Pelvic Surgery, the physicians will then discuss the possible treatment options, which might include:
You and your physician will make your choice based on your medical history, lifestyle and your personal preferences.
Identifying the cause of mixed urinary incontinence requires advanced testing, because patients have both urge and stress incontinence.
Nocturia can have a variety of causes. Drinking too much fluid at night is one. Another is taking medications that remove fluids from the body.
Women who have overflow incontinence cannot completely empty urine from their bladder.
Stress incontinence is extremely common. Approximately 60 percent of women experience some leakage with activity at some time in their lives.
As your bladder fills up, your brain sends a signal to tighten the muscles of the pelvic floor and urethra.
A urinary-tract infection occurs when bacteria contaminate any part of the normally sterile system of organs and tubes that process, store and move urine.