Wrinkles, loss of energy, memory loss are all signs of aging. Along with these signs of aging is bladder incontinence. You know…when you can’t make it to the restroom. When you laugh and you wet your pants. When you sneeze or cough and you wet your pants. This is a problem many women have but don’t want to talk about because it’s embarrassing! Here are some answers to the most common questions about bladder incontinence and how you can get help for this problem.
Types of Incontinence
Stress incontinence is when you have urine leakage when you sneeze, cough, or laugh. This is usually caused because your pelvic floor muscles have become weak, through age or childbirth. It can also be caused due to obesity or a genetic trait.
Urge incontinence is when you have a sudden, unstoppable urge to urinate. This type of incontinence is caused by contractions of the detrusor muscle located in the bladder. These urges can strike without any warning and can lead to a small trickle of urine to complete emptying of the bladder.
Overflow incontinence is more common in men than in women and is caused when you can’t empty your bladder completely. This leads to the urine that is left in your bladder dribbling out constantly.
Treatment for bladder incontinence varies depending on the type of incontinence that you have. The four most common treatments are surgery, medication, strengthening exercises, and bladder training.
Surgery is often used for women with stress incontinence. When a women ages enough that she cannot increase the strength of her pelvic floor muscles anymore, surgery is often recommend. This surgery is now considered an out-patient surgery and doesn’t usually require an overnight stay. During the surgery, the bladder is placed in a “sling” which is attached to the woman’s abdominal walls. Recovery is relatively fast.
Medications are often used for the treatment of urge incontinence. These medications control the involuntary contractions that cause you to urinate. Some of these medications are oxybutynin, calcium channel blockers and tricyclic antidepressants.
If you have stress incontinince, Kegel exercises may work well for you. These are exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. By doing these exercises, your muscles that control the flow of urine become stronger and prevents leakage.
Bladder training is sometimes used to help you regain control of your bladder. This is a combination of exercises and using timed voiding.
Bladder incontinence is caused by many different factors and is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. Talk with your doctor about your situation and let him prescribe the proper treatment for your type of incontinence.