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Urinary Incontinence: Not a Natural Part of Aging

Urinary incontinence, a condition where people accidentally urinate due to a loss of bladder control, affects millions of adults. It happens with 1 in 5 adults over 40, and nearly 30% of people ages 60-70 who merely cough, sneeze, or laugh. Many things can happen in the body to cause urinary incontinence to happen from time to time, but it becomes more prevalent with age. But is that normal, and can it be prevented?

This is a delicate condition that needs individual care and confident treatment. Dr. Neeraj Kohli and our team at Boston Urogyn offer years of experience helping people deal with the inconvenience and embarrassment of urinary incontinence, and we can help you with this or other urological issues. 

What are the types of urinary incontinence?

The loss of bladder control can happen in small amounts on occasion or happen frequently without warning. And it happens in a number of ways, including:

Stress incontinence

This can be triggered by common things like laughing, sneezing, coughing, exercising, or heavy lifting.

Urge incontinence

This is a frequent sudden and intense urge to relieve urine followed by leakage. It can happen at many times of the day or night if bad enough.

Overflow incontinence

A bladder that isn’t emptying properly can cause urine to slowly leak or dribble on a frequent basis.

Functional incontinence

This happens when you’re physically or mentally unable to reach the toilet before urinating. If, for example, you have arthritis in your hands and can’t open your pants in time, you may experience functional incontinence.

What could it be a symptom of?

Urinary incontinence isn’t a disease, it’s a symptom of some other problem. This means that there’s an underlying reason for the condition that also needs treatment, so helping one can often help the other. Simple things like urinary tract infections, irritation, or some medications can cause temporary problems with urinary incontinence. But if it’s lasting for a long period, it could be due to things like:

Complications from these and other issues can prevent the bladder and its surrounding muscles from functioning the way they should. None of this should be considered a natural part of the aging process, even if they’re things that are more likely to happen as you age.

What can you do to prevent it?

Controlling many of the underlying causes of urinary incontinence requires medical attention for diseases and damage to the bladder or muscles. But to avoid infections and prevent the need for some other treatments, some dietary changes can reduce the risk.

You can reduce or stop your consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and sodas, and stop smoking entirely. Eating more fiber can also help. If your problems are coming from a weak pelvic floor (the muscles that support the pelvis), then Kegel exercises are an option to strengthen the muscles you need to control the bladder. 

Although urinary incontinence is more common as you age, you don’t have to accept it as part of aging. Make an appointment with Dr. Kohli at one of our four locations in the Boston, Massachusetts, area to get the help you need. 

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