Urinary Incontinence-Behind The Misconceptions

Fri 09 December 2016

It is estimated that about 25 million adults in the United States suffer from some form of urinary incontinence. The sheer number of people who experience this condition prompted manufacturers to come up with acceptable means of controlling the situation so that more people would not be socially isolated.

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Women experience urinary incontinence more than twice as often as men. Much of the difference can be accounted for by the structure of the female urinary tract, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause, all of which significantly impact the function of the urinary tract system. Both men and women, however, can become incontinent from other issues such as

  • neurological injury
  • stroke
  • multiple sclerosis and other physical conditions that are associated with aging.
Incontinence happens because there are problems and issues with the muscles and nerves that control the release and the ability to hold urine. The body stores urine in the bladder which is a pelvic organ shaped much like a balloon. The bladder is connected to the urethra which is a tube through which urine leaves the body.

The process of urination is a complex orchestration between nerves and muscle control. The muscles in the wall of the bladder contracts which forces the urine out of the bladder at the same time that sphincter muscles relax.

There are several different types of urinary incontinence. The first is

  • Stress incontinencein which laughing, coughing and sneezing can put enough pressure on the bladder to allow leakage. This is the most common type of bladder control problems that women experience and in many cases it can be treated.
The most common causes for stress incontinence involves the stress or injury to the pelvic structures that support the bladder, such as that caused by childbirth.

Another type of urinary incontinence is

  • Urge incontinencewhich is when the person has a strong need to urinate but cannot reach the toilet in time.
This happens to women even when the bladder is holding a small amount of urine. Some have no warning at all before they accidentally leak urine. This can happen when they are drinking water or when they hear running water.

Another cause of urinary incontinence is

  • An overactive bladder. In this condition abnormal nerve signals are sent to the bladder at the wrong time which causes the muscles to squeeze without warning.
Not all persons who have an overactive bladder also suffer from urinary incontinence. Men and women who suffer from an overactive bladder find that they have to go to the bathroom more than seven times each day. They often feel the sudden and strong urge to urinate immediately and can suffer from leakage, often awakening at night to urinate.

Some people suffer from

  • Functional incontinencethat results from a medical condition which interferes with thinking, moving or communication.
For instance, a person who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease may not plan a trip to the bathroom in enough time or an individual in a wheelchair may have trouble getting to the bathroom in time.

Some will suffer from a combination of reasons for incontinence and this is called mixed incontinence. Most women and men do not have one specific reason and some studies have shown that mixed incontinence is actually the most common type of urinary incontinence in women.

Urinary incontinence affects day-to-day activities and even now, with the wealth of medical information available to the public,  some still find it embarrassing to discuss.

In most cases very simple lifestyle changes or medical treatments can allow you function normally in your day-to-day activities, and in some cases, stop the incontinence altogether.

There is no shame, in fact, just the opposite.

You can take pride in addressing this or any other medical concern with your physicians. You are going the distance to take care of your health, so that you can be around longer for those you love, and enjoy your life.

By Jerrell Hodson, Category: misc