Urinary incontinence or urinary leakage
Urinary incontinence is a bladder control problem that causes the involuntary loss of urine. Urine leakage is experienced by millions of Americans, and is most prevalent in women. Bladder control problems are not a normal part of aging, and can be both frustrating and embarrassing. Urinary incontinence can also prevent those affected from participating in activities, leading to social isolation. While there are several treatment options available, over 50% of those experiencing incontinence fail to seek treatment.
How does the bladder work?
The bladder is an organ that sits just under the pubic bone and is connected to the kidneys by the ureters. The ureters are two tubes that transport urine from the kidneys to the bladder. The bladder has two main jobs: to store and void urine.
There are three sets of muscles that control urine. One is the bladder muscle itself. The second are sphincter muscles that open and close the urethra, and the third are the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support the pelvic organs: the uterus, rectum and bladder.
What is urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine that can be chronic or acute. Chronic incontinence means that it starts gradually and slowly becomes worse over time. It may be caused by:
- Muscle weakness in the urinary tract.
- A malfunction in the urinary tract.
- A malfunction in the nerves that control urination.
Chronic incontinence is most common in women, although it does occur in men.
Acute incontinence is a temporary loss of urine control that can be corrected with treatment. This type may be caused by:
- A urinary tract infection.
- Medication side effect
- Bladder stones.
- Vaginal childbirth.
There are several types of incontinence including:
- Urge – A sudden urge to urinate that results in the loss of urine before a bathroom is reached. It’s that “gotta go, gotta go” feeling.
- Stress – Any activity or trigger that causes an involuntary loss of urine. These triggers may include laughing, straining, coughing, sneezing, exercise or lifting.
- Overflow – The loss of urine due to the bladder overfilling, the spilling of excess urine, and the bladder not completely emptying.
- Mixed – A combination of more than one type of incontinence, generally urge and stress incontinence.
- Functional – Leakage or a wetting accidents that occur when an individual is unable to reach a restroom due to functional restrictions. These can include mobility problems, use of a wheelchair, age, or other health conditions.
- Reflex – Occurs when the bladder contracts involuntarily and can’t be held. This can be caused by spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis and other disorders that affect nerve function.
- Anatomical – Results when there are problems with the urinary tract that affect urine flow. They may be present at birth. However, it may also be present in menopausal women. During menopause, the drop of estrogen levels affect the function of both the bladder and urethra.
If you are experiencing an involuntary loss of urine, contact Urology Austin to schedule an evaluation.
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