Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Urinary Incontinence And Women

Women And Incontinence

 
sad woman looking down
 Urinary incontinence is a very common problem, especially among people of older age. For us, women, childbirth and menopause are two more factors that increase the risk of its occurrence. Urinary incontinence (UI) is the involuntary leaking of urine (also referred to as involuntary urination). It affects not only women and men but also children. It can have a negative impact on someone's emotional and mental state, as it brings a great deal of stress and anxiety. The person may become socially isolated and unwilling to take part in activities they used to before dealing with incontinence. Although it is completely understandable for patients to feel that way, it does not mean that it's always an irreversible situation or something unmanageable, given today's progress in medicine and health care products. In this article we're going to discuss the causes, symptoms and effects on women's bodies as well as methods and products of treatment.



Types Of Incontinence

There are four basic types of incontinence:
  • Stress Incontinence: When your pelvic floor and bladder are under pressure (because of coughing, sneezing, laughing or weight lifting), you experience some urine loss.
  • Urge Incontinence: When you feel a sudden urge of urinating, even if you already did a few moments ago. You may also feel the need of visiting the bathroom more often throughout the day (and night) because of your overactive bladder (OAB).
  • Overflow Incontinence: When your bladder is incapable of emptying totally and you experience a constant dribbling (more common in men).
  • Functional Incontinence: There are some medical conditions or medications that may lead to urine leakage.



Of course there are mixed types of incontinence and these are not the only ones. There can also be: 
  • Structural, giggle incontinence and nocturnal enuresis which affect mainly children. 
  • Transient incontinence which is a temporary post-birth condition. 
  • Post-void dribbling (leaking urine because of a half-emptied bladder).
  • Coital incontinence (loss of urine during penetrative sex, masturbation or orgasm).
  • Double incontinence (a combination of urinary and fecal incontinence).


How It Works


the human bladder and urethra
Your bladder is controlled by the detrusor muscles and your urethra by the sphincter muscles. During urination the detrusors contract, squeezing urine out of the bladder while the spincters relax to let the urine go out. If one (or both) muscle group doesn’t function properly, then incontinence becomes the problem.




Causes

 Incontinence can be either a short-term problem or a long-term one depending on its causes. If you can fix whatever brings it about, then you can say goodbye to it. Below we'll look through the different reasons for most types of incontinence. 

Temporary Incontinence: 
 Some medications, foods and drinks act as diuretics by increasing the amount of urine your body produces. Muscle relaxants, sedatives, heart and blood pressure medications or high doses of vitamin C, artificial sweeteners, chocolate, chili peppers, caffeine, alcohol, carbonated drinks and sparkling water may overstimulate your bladder. Constipation and urinary tract infections are also common causes of incontinence.

Persistent Incontinence:
 Pregnancy and vaginal delivery, aging, menopause, hysterectomy, obstruction (by a tumor or a urinary stone), neurological disorders (like Parkinson's or a stroke) and for men an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer can lead to long-term incontinence.



Risk Factors

 Certain factors increase the risk of urinary incontinence and these are:

  •  Sex: Women are more prone to incontinence than men.
  • Aging: Getting older means that your bladder and urethra muscles are getting weaker. Vaginal looseness is closely related to incontinence for the same reason.
  • Obesity: The extra weight applies more pressure to your bladder making it weaker.
  • History: Incontinence can run in the family.
  • Smoking: The use of tobacco can increase the risk.
  • Medical conditions: Diabetes and neurological diseases can increase the risk as well.



Treatment 

 Depending on the different types of incontinence, there are different forms of treatment. Before making your decision, you should discuss the matter with your doctor. After you have determined the type of incontinence it is you're suffering from, you can then decide on the treatment that is best for you. Below are different forms of managing incontinence.

Dual and single silicone coated kegel balls
Kegels: 
Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles in order to regain control over your bladder and urethra. You can get a full guide on kegels and how they work from our website. Kegel balls can increase the effectiveness of the exercise. 

 
Intimate Rose kegel exercise kit for treating incontinence
Vaginal Cones: 
Kegel exercise equipment can help strengthening your pelvic floor muscles. These cones come in various sizes and weights to suit all levels of competency, like this Intimate Rose Kegel Exercise Kit



K-fit pelvic toner device for urinary incontinence treatment Electrical Stimulation:
There are also electric toner devices such as K-Fit Pelvic Toner. They are inserted to the vagina and stimulate all the kegel involved muscles. You don't experience any electro-shock feelings, you just feel your muscles pull-up and tighten.


Elvie kegel exerciser and pelvic floor muscle exercise tracker with smartphone app
Biofeedback:
Biofeedback works pretty much as the electrical stimulation only that the device inserted to the vagina is connected to a visual system that allows you to see the muscle contractions. It is, for this reason, more effective as you have the ability to correct yourself. Elvie Kegel Exerciser And Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercise Tracker is a great example of such equipment, that can connect to your smartphone using a special app and give you a really effective exercise session.


Behavioral Techniques:
  • Bladder training: it is intended  to help you delay urination after you feel the need to do it. You can try to hold yourself from peeing for 10 more minutes every time you get the urge to visit the bathroom. Your final goal would be to manage to urinate only after 2.5 to 3.5 hours.
  • Double voiding: the aim is to empty your bladder completely. In order to do so you urinate, then wait a few minutes and urinate again.
  • Visit the bathroom on schedule: try going to the toilet every 2 hours and not wait until you feel the need to.
  • Lifestyle changes: cut down on diuretic substances like coffee and alcohol, reduce the daily intake of liquids, try to lose weight (if you're overweight) and take up some physical activity.

Incontinence Products:
  • Absorbent products: shields, briefs and adult diapers are used to collect leaking urine. There are even swim diapers, suitable for swimming and water physiotherapy.
  • Catheters: they 're inserted to the urethra and connected to the bladder. They can be either indwelling (connected to a urine bag) or intermittent (single-use catheters, inserted every time the patient needs to urinate).
  • Collecting systems (for men): they consist of a sheath that is worn around the penis and channels urine to a bag worn around the leg.
  • Fixer-occluder devices (for men): they 're strapped around the penis, applying soft pressure to the urethra in order to stop urine flow.

Medication:
 There are several drugs for incontinence, but they have very questionable effects and the risk of side-effects is quite high. Your doctor should be the one to determine whether you should take them and you should discuss the matter with them first if you wish to turn to a drug treatment.

Surgery:
 When other forms of treatment don't seem to work, surgery may be the last reserve for incontinence patients. There are sling procedures (a pelvic sling is created to help keep the urethra closed), prolapse surgery, creating an artificial urinary sphincter and bladder neck suspension (providing support to the bladder neck and urethra.


Conclusion

carefree woman at the beach at sunset
 Urinary incontinence is a condition that affects a lot of people at some point of their life. Although it doesn't always accompany a severe medical condition, it causes a lot of frustration to the patient and makes them feel unable to lead a carefree lifestyle. It also brings stress and anxiety as it affects a person's social life, emotional and mental state. It is not a condition that can't be treated and it should not be seen as an obstacle you can't overcome or learn how to live with. 

 It is always advisable to consult your doctor for any problem that might concern you.  You are the one in charge of your body and you should never neglect any SOS sign it gives you, so take good care of it. The information in this article cannot substitute any medical knowledge and advice by a professional doctor. 

Until our next article: Take good care of yourselves!

P.S.: Feel free to check the right side-bar for other interesting articles on women's health, sexual well-being and sex toys.

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