Urinary incontinence refers to a condition in which a patient loses control of their bladder muscle, and so, is unable to control when he urinates. The severity of this ranges from small drops of urine coming out when the patient coughs or sneezes, to having an urge so sudden that there isn’t enough time to even reach the bathroom, and hence the patient urinates in their pants.
Incontinence is itself, a symptom of some underlying disease of the urinary system, and so it is divided into the following types, based on the cause:
- Stress incontinence – urination of activities that increase the intrabdominal pressure, and cause stress on the bladder, such as coughing, sneezing, laughing.
- Urge incontinence – strong urge, followed by complete loss of bladder control, leading to involuntary urination
- Overflow incontinence – constant dribbling of urine drops, because the bladder doesn’t empty completely
- Functional incontinence – a mental or physical disability, doesn’t allow you to make it to the bathroom in time.
There are many causes of urinary incontinence, some of which are listed below:
- Carbonated drinks and sparkling water
- Artificial sweeteners
- Chili peppers
- Urinary tract infections
- Enlarged prostate/Prostate cancer
- Neurologic disorders such as Multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome
After gaining most clues from medical history, and physical examination, the diagnosis is usually confirmed by the following tests:
- Bladder diary
- Post-void residual measurement
- Pelvic ultrasound
The following measures can be taken to treat urinary incontinence:
- Bladder training
- Scheduled bathroom visits
- Fluid and diet management
- Pelvic floor muscle strengthening exercises
- Medications (Anticholinergics, Alpha blockers, Topical estrogen)