Urinary Incontinence is leakage of urine. There are different types of urinary incontinence: Stress Urinary Incontinence, Urge Incontinence, Mixed Incontinence and Overflow Incontinence.
Stress Incontinence is caused by a weakening of support tissues of the bladder or the muscles of the urethra (the tube that transports urine from the bladder out of the body).
Urge Incontinence is a leakage of urine caused by overactive bladder muscles that contract too often or problems with the nerves that control the bladder.
Mixed Incontinence is a combination of Stress and Urge incontinence symptoms.
Overflow Incontinence is characterized by a steady loss of small amounts of urine when the bladder fails to empty completely. It can be caused by a blockage of the urethra or underactive bladder muscles.
Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence may include: urgency, frequency, nocturia, (voiding during sleep hours), dysuria (painful urination), and enuresis (bed-wetting or leaking while sleeping).
Urinary Incontinence causes may include: urinary tract infections, certain medications, abnormal growths such as polyps or bladder stones and tumors, pelvic support problems and neuromuscular problems. Risk of Urinary Incontinence increases with central nervous system disorders such as stroke or Parkinson’s disease, obesity, diuretic medications, injury to the urethra from any cause, repeated vaginal childbirth, vaginal birth of large children, chronic cough and age over 60.
Treatment Options for Urinary Incontinence depends on reason for leakage. Urine testing can be performed to determine if an infection is present. Urinary tract infections are treated by antibiotics. Urinary polyps, tumors or stones are usually treated by removal. Physical therapy options may be indicated to strengthen pelvic muscles. A pessary (support device) made of rubber or another material can be fitted to be worn inside the vagina to support the uterus and bladder. Surgery can be performed to tighten relaxed or damaged pelvic floor muscles. Weight loss, avoidance of constipation, and practicing Kegel exercises regularly can help urinary incontinence symptoms. Medications may be prescribed to treat urge and mixed urinary incontinence complaints.