If you deal with urinary incontinence, you’re not alone. In fact, more than 13 million Americans have the condition, and experts estimate that up to half of women experience incontinence at some point.
Despite this, many women feel embarrassed and ashamed about their incontinence and often don’t seek treatment despite changing their daily activities because of it. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way.
In this blog, our providers at Holistic OB/GYN & Midwifery explain the types of urinary incontinence and what the treatment options are.
What is urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control or leaking urine. Although it occurs in both men and women, women are about two times more likely than men to develop issues with incontinence.
Types of urinary incontinence
There are four main kinds of urinary incontinence:
Stress incontinence occurs when you exert pressure or stress on the bladder and a small amount of urine comes out, typically between a few dribbles to a teaspoon. This can be caused by coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising, or lifting something heavy.
Overflow incontinence is caused by something that blocks the bladder from completely emptying, causing urine to dribble out frequently.
Urge incontinence is characterised by a sudden, involuntary contraction of the muscular wall of the bladder that causes an urge to urinate that cannot be stopped. People who suffer from this typically have very little time between the urge to urinate and the release of urine. In some circumstances, they may not have enough time to reach a restroom.
Mixed incontinence describes a person who suffers from multiple forms of incontinence, typically stress and urge.
Causes and risk factors
As noted, the bladder and related muscles play a large role in the development of urinary incontinence. Anything that interferes with their proper functioning can lead to the condition. Common issues that can affect the bladder and related muscles include the following:
- Obstructions, including tumors and stones
- Neurological disorders
For women, aging and certain female processes are the most significant risk factors. The combination of pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and the female anatomy makes incontinence more likely in women. And with aging, the muscles that support the bladder and urethra can start to lose their strength, which can lead to incontinence. Obesity and smoking are also linked to the condition.
Treating urinary incontinence
Many women suffer through incontinence, too embarrassed to seek treatment. It should be clear that there is no shame in incontinence, and treatment can help you feel better and more confident.
At Holistic OB/GYN & Midwifery, we’ll do a full exam and testing to diagnose your specific type of incontinence. Once a cause is determined, your practitioner may recommend a number of options, such as Kegels, bladder training exercises, diet improvements, or changes to your fluid intake.
To learn more about urinary incontinence, book an appointment online or over the phone with Holistic OB/GYN & Midwifery today.