Urinary incontinence, when you lose control of your bladder, affects 25 million adults in the United States. Up to 80% of them are women, since urinary incontinence can be linked to women’s issues like pregnancy and menopause.
Urinary incontinence is often associated with older people but anyone can struggle with lack of bladder control. The condition ranges from mild to severe, depending on the cause. Although incontinence comes in different forms and can be uncomfortable to deal with, help is available.
Dr. Neeraj Kohli and the capable staff at BostonUrogyn have years of experience helping patients manage conditions like urinary incontinence.
Losing control of your bladder can happen a few ways, based on many factors. The various types of urinary incontinence include:
Stress incontinence comes from pressure exerted on the bladder caused by coughing, sneezing, laughing, or heavy lifting.
Urge incontinence is an overwhelming urge to urinate that often doesn’t give you enough time to reach a bathroom, often leading to involuntary leakage.
Overflow incontinence happens when the bladder isn’t emptying properly, causing a frequent or constant slow dribble of urine.
A physical or mental condition or impediment that prevents you from getting to a toilet in time is considered functional incontinence.
Mixed incontinence is when you’re dealing with more than one type of urinary incontinence.
Any of these happening frequently can interfere with your ability to have a social life, or even function normally. Call Dr. Kohli if your life is beginning to revolve around this condition.
Urinary incontinence isn’t a disease. It’s a symptom of other conditions, and can be caused by lifestyle habits and physical problems. Hormonal changes or conditions that add pressure to your bladder are common causes of incontinence.
Women who are pregnant, have just given birth, have had a hysterectomy, or are post-menopausal are at greater risk of urinary incontinence, but urinary tract infections (UTIs) or constipation can also cause it.
Obesity, smoking, and dietary choices can also increase the risk. Alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, chocolate, chili peppers, artificial sweeteners, and other foods and drinks can stimulate your bladder and increase the volume of urine in your bladder.
Neurological diseases, tumors that cause bladder obstructions, and diabetes can also contribute to experiencing urinary incontinence.
Fortunately there are ways to treat this embarrassing and inconvenient condition. Dietary changes can help if certain foods are causing your urinary incontinence, along with an exercise regimen to reduce weight and relieve pressure on the bladder.
Exercises that strengthen the sphincter and pelvic floor muscles, called Kegel exercises, can help you regain control over urination. Another treatment method is bladder training, a type of behavior therapy used to manage urinary incontinence.
Medications that might help include anticholinergics (to help calm overactive bladders), topical estrogen (to help reinforce vaginal and urethral tissue and lessen symptoms), and imipramine (a tricyclic antidepressant).
Medical devices, such as a pessary, a sacral nerve stimulator, or urethral inserts can help manage symptoms and restore normal function. Botox® and bulking agents can also help.
If other methods aren’t successful, surgery is an option, including sling procedures to stop urine from leaking, colposuspension to lift the bladder neck and relieve symptoms, or an artificial sphincter to help control the flow of urine.
Don’t let urinary incontinence keep you from living your life. If you need help dealing with this condition, call one of our Boston area locations, including Wellesley and South Weymouth, Massachusetts, or book your appointment online today.