Have you experienced getting the urge to pee and were unable to control it before reaching the toilet? Do you find yourself accidentally leaking after having laughed, sneezed, or coughed?
If your answer to these is “yes,” then chances are, you may be experiencing urinary incontinence.
Put simply, urinary incontinence happens because one has lost—whether partially or completely—the voluntary control over the urinary sphincter.
By Brandon Blinkenberg, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=170.
Women and Urinary Incontinence
While urinary incontinence affects both genders, statistics such as those from the Continence Foundation of Australia suggest that there are more women with bladder control problems than there are men.
Even in the United States, a staggering 75-80 percent out of 25 million cases with some form of incontinence are women, according to Phoenix Physical Therapy.
Why Bother Treating Incontinence?
Incontinence may be temporary, such as when one’s diet includes certain food types that stimulate the bladder to release more urine.
And then, there is the persistent form of incontinence.
Besides the obvious fact that no one wants to be embarrassed by a suddenly wet pair of pants, there is a good reason not to ignore the signs.
This is because although most view the condition as just a sign of aging, medical experts such as those at Mayo Clinic classify urinary incontinence as more of a symptom of either an underlying physical problem or medical condition such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, or heavy metal poisoning.
A visit to the doctor can therefore help you determine what is causing your incontinence.
How Do Doctors Treat Incontinence?
While there is no definite cure to urinary incontinence even with today’s medical advancement, there are various treatment methods, all of which could improve your quality of life.
According to Mayoclinic.org, the options include medications and surgery. However, for certain cases, there are also non-invasive techniques such as changing the timing of your visits to the toilet, being conscious of the food you eat, and doing exercises that can improve your pelvic floor muscles.
Here are examples of methods your urologist might recommend you do at home:
- Bladder training Holding urination when the urge is felt. The goal is to training the body to urinate to just every two or four hours.
- Double voiding. This is a technique where the patient tries to urinate twice every toilet trip—i.e., urinate, pause a minute, then urinate again. The aim is to completely empty the bladder.
- Scheduled urination. By “scheduled”, one aims to urinate every two to four hours even without the urge to do so.
- Diet. Foods that are considered stimulants to the bladder may be removed from the diet so as to lessen the urge to urinate. These foods are those that are spicy, caffeinated, carbonated, made out of citrus juices, alcoholic, sweet, or milk and milk-based products like cheese.
- Controlling the fluid intake. Consuming large quantities of fluids causes the body to generate urine faster. When the urinary bladder is sensitive, even a simple pressure from within can cause urine to leak involuntary.
- Exercise for the nether region. The Kegel exercise is a series of repetitive steps designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Although the ways to find and zero in on these muscles differ between men and women, the instructions for such exercise are relatively the same: Tighten the muscles in your pelvic floor for three seconds, then relax them for three seconds. Repeat the step 10 times per session.As days pass, the count while contracting the pelvic muscles should increase.
– Jermaine delos Santos