“One of the most common health conditions, incontinence is still widely viewed as an inevitable-and unmentionable-part of aging and childbirth.” – USC Health Magazine
COMMON IN WOMEN
TREATABLE AT ALL AGES
Do you suffer from Incontinence? A few considerations…
- Do you leak urine when you cough, laugh, lift something or sneeze?
- Do you ever leak urine when you have a strong urge on the way to the bathroom?
- How frequently do you empty your bladder during the day?
- How many times do you get up to urinate after going to sleep?
- Is it the urge to urinate that wakes you?
- Do you ever leak urine during sex?
- Do you wear pads that protect you from leaking urine?
- Do you ever find urine on your pads or clothes and are unaware of when the leakage occurred?
- Does it hurt when you urinate?
- Do you ever feel that you are unable to completely empty your bladder?
What is Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine, which can become a social or hygienic problem. It is more common in women since it can be caused by pregnancy, childbirth, menopause or stricture of the female urinary tract.
Why does Incontinence happen?
Although older women experience incontinence more often than younger ones, it is not a condition that is related to age. Incontinence occurs because of problems in the muscles and nerves that are involved in holding or releasing urine.
During urination, muscles in the wall of the bladder (where urine is stored) contract, forcing urine out of it and into the urethra (the tube through which urine leaves the body). At the same time, sphincter muscles surrounding the urethra relax, letting urine pass out of the body. Incontinence will occur if your bladder muscles suddenly contract or the sphincter muscles are not strong enough to hold back urine.
Types of Urinary Incontinence and their Causes
|Stress||Leakage of small amounts of urine during physical movement – such as coughing, sneezing and exercising. Causes of this stem from physical changes resulting from pregnancy, child birth and menopause.|
|Urge||Leakage of large amounts of urine at unexpected times, including during sleep. This occurs when the bladder muscle contracts inappropriately often regardless of the amount of urine that is in the bladder.|
|Overactive Bladder||Urinary frequency and urgency, with or without urge incontinence.|
|Functional||Untimely urination that can occur due to physical or mental impairment that prevents a person from making it to the toilet in time.|
|Overflow||Unexpected leakage of small amounts of urine because of a full bladder.|
|Mixed||Usually the occurrence of stress and urge incontinence together.|
|Transient||Leakage that occurs temporarily because of a situation that will pass such as infection, taking a new medication and colds with coughing.|
URINARY INCONTINENCE IS TREATABLE AT ALL AGES!
Biofeedback is a technique that gives information about functions that are usually regulated automatically by the body, such as your heart rate or muscle contractions.
It is used to treat incontinence by helping you learn to control and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which play a crucial role in bladder control. Biofeedback directs you to the specific muscle groups you need to strengthen to help control urine flow.
How does the treatment work?
Biofeedback uses measuring devices to help you become aware of your body’s functioning. Biofeedback can supplement pelvic muscle exercises to relieve stress and urge incontinence. It can be used to teach correct pelvic floor exercise methods. Because you can see what is happening, you are more motivated to work on the muscles. For urge incontinence, the biofeedback can help you learn to relax your bladder long enough to allow you enough time to reach the toilet.
Biofeedback tells you when your bladder and urethral muscles contract, to help you gain awareness and control of your urinary tract muscles. This means that weak muscles can be better activated on demand, muscles that are too tense can be relaxed, and overall muscle activity can be coordinated.
Thus resulting in better control of urine output and hence no more embarrassing moments.
The Saint James Hospital Incontinence Clinic for Women is run by female physiotherapists.