Urinary Incontinence

Many causes can cause poor bladder control. The good news is that there are many medical treatments that can help.

Half of women have urinary incontinence at some point in their lives and in general, they have twice the frequency of incontinence than men. Incontinence is not an inevitable result of aging. There is almost always a specific cause for this symptom and in most cases it can be treated effectively.

There are several urinary incontinence types, each with many possible causes. The same person may have more than one class and cause.

Stress Incontinence

Small urine leakage when coughing, laughing, or straining. Generally dry at night.

Stress incontinence can account for half of all cases of urinary incontinence. Typically the person drips small amounts of urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing or pushing, and is very common in multiparous or elderly women. It is often associated with weakness of the pelvic floor muscles, which allows urine to drip at times of exertion or increased pressure within the abdomen.

A complete clinical and dynamic urological examination is necessary to decide the treatment.
Symptoms can be controlled simply by medical treatment, but surgical treatment is often necessary.

Urge Incontinence

It is the inability to control the leakage of urine after feeling a strong urge to urinate.

  • Urge to urinate
  • Increased urinary frequency
  • Low volume urination
  • Hyperactive bladder

Urge incontinence is more common in older people, although it can occur at any age. Signs of urgency incontinence include a frequent and intense urge to urinate, with few volumes. It has many causes, such as bladder carcinoma in situ, urinary tract infection, interstitial cystitis, central nervous system problems and urinary obstruction.

Treatment includes the underlying cause and specific medications. Rarely, surgery may be necessary.

In some cases both types of incontinence can be found in the same patient, which is why successful management depends on an adequate urological study.

Overflow incontinence

The bladder is not vacated by weakness of the bladder muscle or by obstruction.

Overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder does not empty completely and then fills at full capacity. Once this condition occurs, small amounts of urine are released to the outside, when there are increases in pressure within the abdomen. It can be caused by weakness of the bladder muscle or by blockage. There are other possible causes such as diabetes, spinal cord injury, medications, etc. In these cases it is important to consult the urologist because if the urine returns to the kidneys can damage them.

There is no reason why urinary incontinence, if treated properly, should prevent anyone to have an active life.

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