Continuous incontinence is a type of incontinence that causes the continuous release of urine throughout the day. Unlike stress incontinence, which occurs normally during laughter, coughing or sneezing, continuous incontinence requires no particular trigger and will instead be a constant ‘seepage’.
In some cases the patient will be aware of their incontinence, while in others they may not be able to feel themselves urinating and so will only discover the problem when their underwear becomes noticeably damp.
In any scenario, this is an embarrassing, uncomfortable and distressing condition, which fortunately can usually be treated in a number of ways.
In most cases, the cause of continuous incontinence is a weakened urethral sphincter, which is the sphincter controlling the flow of urine. A sphincter is any circular muscle which can be thought of as a valve, when it tightens it will stem the flow of urine and when it relaxes it will allow it to pass through.
Both men and women have urethral sphincters and despite common misconception, male sphincters are not stronger than women’s. Nevertheless, women tend to suffer from continuous incontinence more frequently than men, owing to the fact that they have to urinate more regularly due to their bladders sharing ‘space’ with their uterus and vagina inside the anterior wall.
Another reason that continuous incontinence is more common in women, is that it is often brought on by pregnancy and childbirth. These are two things that can cause a weakening of the sphincter as well as placing significant strain on the bladder.
In other case, continuous incontinence can be caused by abnormal growths or obstructions in the urinary tract. It may also be the result of normal muscle-weakening that comes with advanced age. If you experience any form of involuntary incontinence, you should consult with your doctor to discover the root cause.
In some cases, surgery will be necessary in order to remove growths or to tighten the sphincter.
In many other scenarios however, especially following childbirth, it will be possible to treat the condition through kegel training. The kegel muscles are the muscles in the ‘abdominal floor’ which are responsible for controlling the sphincter and controlling urine flow.
The easiest way to train the kegel muscles is to stop your pee mid-flow. While going to the toilet, stop the stream and try holding it for 10 seconds. Do this a few times each time you go to the toilet and you should find that you start to strengthen the muscles involved and thus reduce the problem.
When you do this, try to feel precisely what muscles are being used and how you tense them. Once you’ve learned this, you can then also practice tensing them when you’re not going to the toilet. Tense and hold for ten seconds, repeat for 20 repetitions, and do this once a day before bed.