Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence (UI) is loss of bladder control. Symptoms can range from mild leaking to uncontrollable wetting. It can happen to anyone, but it becomes more common with age. Women experience UI twice as often as men.

Most bladder control problems happen when muscles are too weak or too active. If the muscles that keep your bladder closed are weak, you may have accidents when you sneeze, laugh or lift a heavy object. This is stress incontinence. If bladder muscles become too active, you may feel a strong urge to go to the bathroom when you have little urine in your bladder. This is urge incontinence or overactive bladder. There are other causes of incontinence, such as prostate problems and nerve damage.

Treatment depends on the type of problem you have and what best fits your lifestyle. It may include simple exercises, medicines, special devices or procedures prescribed by your doctor, or surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence

The following features are indicative of Urinary Incontinence:
  • uncontrollable sudden urge to urinate
  • urge incontinence
  • urinate frequently
  • nocturia

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Common Causes of Urinary Incontinence

The following are the most common causes of Urinary Incontinence:
  • overactivity of the detrusor urinae muscle
  • involuntary contraction of bladder
  • neurological disorders
  • diabetes
  • acute urinary tract infections

Other Causes of Urinary Incontinence

The following are the less common causes of Urinary Incontinence:
  • enlarged prostate
  • severe constipation
  • previous operations to treat other forms of incontinence
  • excess consumption of caffeine
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • decline in cognitive functioning
  • difficulty in walking
  • incomplete bladder emptying

Risk Factors for Urinary Incontinence

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Urinary Incontinence:
  • increasing age
  • enlarged prostate
  • diabetes
  • cognitive decline
  • bowel control problems
  • female
  • being overweight
  • neurological disease
  • diabetes
  • family history

Prevention of Urinary Incontinence

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Urinary Incontinence. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • learn early bladder retraining techniques
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • practice pelvic floor exercises, especially during pregnancy
  • avoiding bladder irritants
  • eating more fiber

Occurrence of Urinary Incontinence

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Urinary Incontinence cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Urinary Incontinence can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Urinary Incontinence can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Urinary Incontinence

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Urinary Incontinence:
  • Medical history: To evaluate disease contributing factors
  • Physical exam: To check abdomen and genitals
  • Urine test: To test for infection, traces of blood or other abnormalities
  • Neurological exam: To identify sensory problems or abnormal reflexes
  • Postvoid residual urine test: To measure residual urine
  • Urine flow rate test: To measure the volume and speed of voiding
  • Cystometry: To measure bladder pressure
  • Urodynamic testing: To measure bladder strength and urinary sphincter health
  • Cystoscopy: To check for abnormalities in urinary tract
  • Cystogram: Help reveal urinary tract problems
  • Pelvic ultrasound: To check for abnormalities

Doctor for Diagnosis of Urinary Incontinence

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Urinary Incontinence:
  • Urologist
  • Gynecologist

Complications of Urinary Incontinence if untreated

Yes, Urinary Incontinence causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Urinary Incontinence is left untreated:
  • emotional distress or depression
  • anxiety
  • sleep disturbances
  • interrupted sleep cycles
  • issues with sexuality
  • rashes
  • skin infections
  • sores
  • urinary tract infections

Procedures for Treatment of Urinary Incontinence

The following procedures are used to treat Urinary Incontinence:
  • Surgery: Helps increasing bladder capacity and to treat urinary incontinence
  • Bladder removal: Surgically constructing a neobladder or stoma helps normal functioning
  • Nerve stimulation procedure: To improve overactive bladder symptoms
  • Pelvic floor muscle exercises: To strengthen pelvic floor muscles and urinary sphincter
  • Healthy weight: Helps reducing stress related urinary incontinence
  • Intermittent catheterization: To improve overactive bladder symptoms
  • Bladder training: To delay voiding when feeling an urge to urinate
  • Double voiding: Helps you learn to empty your bladder more completely to avoid overflow incontinence

Self-care for Urinary Incontinence

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Urinary Incontinence:
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Helps reducing symptoms
  • Don't restrict fluid: Helps decreasing the urge to urinate
  • Limit bladder irritating foods and drinks: Helps reducing bladder irritation and urge to urinate

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Urinary Incontinence

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Urinary Incontinence:
  • Acupuncture: Helps easing the symptoms of overactive bladder
  • Biofeedback: Helps strengthening pelvic muscles

Patient Support for Treatment of Urinary Incontinence

The following actions may help Urinary Incontinence patients:
  • Education: Learn new coping strategies and stay motivated to maintain self-care strategies
  • Advocacy support groups: Connect with people who experience similar problems helps coping up with the situation
  • Family and friends support: Sharing helps reducing feelings of embarrassment

Time for Treatment of Urinary Incontinence

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Urinary Incontinence to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 4 weeks

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Urinary Incontinence.
Overactive Bladder
Pelvic Support Problems
Urinary Tract Infections

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