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How To Know If You Have Urinary Incontinence

How To Know If You Have Urinary Incontinence

Leaking urine when you laugh, sneeze, or cough can be embarrassing and inconvenient. If you suddenly have a strong urge to urinate, but there isn’t a restroom nearby, it can be downright miserable.

Urinary incontinence is very common, especially in women. Many people think it is a normal part of aging, but it’s a medical diagnosis and many treatment options exist.

In a healthy bladder, muscles in the bladder contract when it’s time to urinate. Sphincter muscles relax at the same time to allow urine to exit the body through the urethra.

Urinary incontinence occurs when the sphincter muscles cannot squeeze the urethra shut or when the quick contraction of bladder muscles makes the urge to urinate uncontrollable.

How to Know if You Have Incontinence

There are several different symptoms of urinary incontinence. Generally, if you leak urine when doing activities or have strong sudden urges to use the restroom (and often can’t make it in time), then you likely have urinary incontinence. Feeling that you need to wear incontinence pads or special underwear is another sign.

Anyone can experience incontinence. However, there are some people and life stages where it is more prevalent.

Women have incontinence more frequently than men since it is often related to menopause, pregnancy, and childbirth. These circumstances may cause a woman’s pelvic floor muscles to weaken over time.

Men with an enlarged prostate or who have undergone prostate cancer surgery may also be at an increased risk of developing incontinence.

Additionally, as you age, incontinence becomes more likely to occur. Over time, muscle tone may deteriorate, leading to leakage problems.

Many believe incontinence is an unavoidable consequence of aging that cannot be prevented. Age does raise your chance of incontinence. However, there are treatments and devices available to help manage this condition.

What Are the Different Types of Urinary Incontinence?

Urge incontinence

Urge incontinence is characterized by a strong urge to urinate immediately. Often, this occurs too quickly to reach a toilet, resulting in urine leakage. Urge incontinence may result from a condition known as overactive bladder (OAB). Various factors cause OAB, including:

  • weak pelvic muscles
  • nerve damage
  • infection
  • decreased estrogen levels after menopause
  • higher body weight

Some medications and beverages, such as alcohol and caffeine, can also lead to OAB.

Stress incontinence

Stress incontinence occurs when urine leaks during activity. Many people experience leakage when they:

  • laugh
  • cough
  • sneeze
  • run
  • jump
  • lift

All these processes exert pressure on the bladder. Without strong pelvic muscles, urine leakage is more likely to occur. Women who have given birth vaginally are more prone to develop stress incontinence. It is also possible for men who have undergone prostate surgery to develop stress incontinence.

Overflow incontinence

If the bladder is not completely empty after urinating, it may lead to overflow incontinence. People with overflow incontinence are susceptible to urine leakage because their bladders are never fully emptied. Typically, overflow incontinence results in small amounts of urine dribbling out over time as opposed to a single large volume. This type of incontinence is more prevalent in those with chronic diseases such as:

  • multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • stroke
  • diabetes

It also occurs in men with an enlarged prostate.

Mixed incontinence

Mixed incontinence may involve both stress incontinence and an overactive bladder. It is essential to pay close attention to what activities or circumstances bring about leakage issues. Identifying the causes of mixed incontinence is typically the most effective treatment method.

Incontinence does not need to disrupt your life. Call 843-347-2450 to schedule your appointment today.

How Can We Help You?

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