More than 5 million Australians suffer from urinary incontinence. More than 6 in 10 women and at least 3 in 10 men will be affected by incontinence. Urinary incontinence is a symptom resulting in the loss of bladder control. It is an issue often associated with older age, but incontinence can affect people of all ages. Today we are going to discuss the different types of incontinence, treatment and testing for incontinence.
Types of Urinary Incontinence
There are a number of different type of incontinence which result in the leakage of urine. These include:
Stress incontinence can occur due to a poor bladder supported by the pelvic muscles, or a weak or damaged sphincter. This allows urine to leak when you do any activity that strains or stresses the abdomen. This includes sneezing, coughing, laughing and even walking and exercise.
Urge incontinence can occur when an overactive bladder contracts without you wanting it to do so. It creates a feeling that you need to go to go to the bathroom, immediately. It also causes urine leakage without warning.
Your bladder can become overactive due to an infection irritating the bladder lining. The nerves that normally control the bladder can also cause an overactive bladder. You can also suffer from a combination of stress and urge incontinence.
Overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder becomes so full that it simply overflows, hence the name. this can be caused by bladder weakness or a blocked urethra that prevents you from properly emptying the bladder.
An enlarged prostate can also result in a blockage and overflow incontinence is more common in men.
Bladder weakness develops in both men and women, and is more common in those with decreased nerve functions, diabetes, and heavy alcohol users.
Functional incontinence can occur when people canot reach a bathroom or bedpan when they need it. While their urinary system works well, physical or mental conditions, or other circumstances, can prevent normal toilet usage.
This is incontinence that occurs during sleep.
Testing for Incontinence
If you suspect you’re suffering from urinary incontinence, it is important to speak to your doctor. Incontinence can develop as side effects of regular medication, and a simple adjustment can improve or even cure your incontinence.
Your doctor will discuss your symptoms and the situations in which you experience urine leakage. They will also discuss your medical and surgical history, daily habits, medications and more.
A thorough examination may include your abdomen, pelvis, rectum and nervous system, and you may be referred to a specialist such as a urologist or urogynecologist.
Depending on your type or suspected cause of incontinence, your doctor or specialist may perform one or more of the following tests in order to choose a treatment path for you:
This involves collecting samples of your urine. These samples are examined for the presence of infection, blood, or other abnormalities.
Post-void Residual Measurement
This test checks to see whether any urine remains after you have attempted to empty your bladder completely. The test is performed by inserting a catheter into the bladder to drain the remaining urine. It can also be performed via an ultrasound.. ultrasounds can also check the size and shape of the bladder, kidneys and prostate to help rule out damage to these organs.
This thin, telescope like instrument is inserted into the bladder through the urethra. This allows the doctor to see inside the bladder and to visually check for problems.
These are urodynamic tests to examine the bladder and sphincter muscle function. Your doctor can find out if you have normal bladder sensations and capacity, and whether your bladder fills and empties in a normal manner. An x-ray can also be used to establish the degree of change in the position of the bladder and urethra during normal toilet use, straining or coughing.
There are a wide range of treatments available for incontinence. A specialist or your doctor can recommend the right treatment path for you. But this may include:
This involves special exercises and training programs that improve bladder control. This may involved bladder retraining which is the gradual prolonging of time between bathroom visits, as well as reasonable fluid intake.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to relax the bladder or tighten the sphincter muscles. Medications you may be taking for other conditions can also affect your bladder control and might require review with your doctor.
There are several surgical options for incontinence treatment. Men can have operations to relieve blockages caused by an enlarged prostate. For women, an operation might be needed to restore the support of the pelvic floor muscles or reconstruct or compress the sphincter. Some doctors may recommend an artificial urinary sphincter if the sphincter muscles are absent or are severely damaged, or if your incontinence issues have not responded to simpler treatments.
If your incontinence cannot be treated with medication, behavioural therapy or surgery, or you are in the middle of these treatments, there are products you can use. These products protect you against leaks and accidents. These include adult diapers, pull ups and pads.
Holistic Incontinence has a wide range of incontinence products to help you manage your symptoms. Explore our range, today!