Urinary incontinence is the loss of control of your bladder, which causes involuntary urinary leakage. It may be embarrassing, but this condition is treatable. Urinary incontinence may often occur in women above 50 years of age, but children's and male incontinence are also possible. It may be caused by certain illnesses of anatomic nature, such as having weak pelvic muscles.
Naturally, urinary incontinence will sometimes just vanish. The capacity of your bladder will soon increase to accommodate more urine, thus increasing urinary retention. Your body will also learn to normalize its antidiuretic hormone (ADH) production, the hormone that slows down the making of urine. Children can overcome incontinence without treatment by learning to respond to their natural body alarms indicating that it's time to urinate.
Urinary incontinence treatments can take many forms, including:
- Attending a weight loss program.
- Using absorbent products like diapers and undergarments to avoid embarrassment.
- Exercising the pelvis muscles is one of the most common treatments. One of the recommended exercise routines is the Kegel exercise, which involves relaxing and contracting your muscles that form part of your pelvic floor. This can also strengthen your lower pelvis.
- Short sessions of electrical stimulation have similar effects as exercising. Temporarily placing electrodes in the rectum or vagina can normalize hyperactive muscles and stimulate contraction of urethral muscles.
- Biofeedback using diaries or electrical devices can help you anticipate when urethral muscles and the bladder will contract so that you may be able to gain control over them. Biofeedback can also be used in training the bladder by scheduled urinating.
- For female incontinence, a medical device called a pessary is inserted into the vagina and will compress the urethra to elevate the bladder neck. However, infections may occur in using this device, thus doctors should monitor it regularly.
- If the incontinence is due to a bladder that will not empty completely, a catheter may be used. This is a tube inserted through the urethra to the bladder to drain the urine. Prolonged usage can cause urinary tract infections.
- Incontinence surgery is also possible. Although a lot of incontinence surgeries have high success rates, doctors will only recommend this procedure after all other treatments are tried. The more common surgical procedures are repositioning of the bladder and bladder neck suspension surgery.
- The most common preference for females having stress urinary incontinence is the sling procedure. The sling, consisting of a synthetic mesh material, a biomaterial or the patients' tissue, acts as a replacement to the pelvic floor muscles and serves as support under the urethra.
- Medication products are available for the treatment of incontinence. Some medicines normalize the overactive bladder. Some will relax muscles that allow complete emptying of the bladder, while others tighten the bladder neck and urethra to prevent leakage. Some hormones can also normalize the muscles involved in urination. Medications include topical or vaginal estrogens, tolterodine, oxybutyni, and trospium. Usage depends on a patient's situation, incontinence's condition and causes of & etc.
- For children, increasing ADH levels through desmopressin pills or spray can treat incontinence occurring at night. However, total dryness with this product is only achieved by very few patients. If the child's incontinence is due to a hyperactive bladder, a medicine that normalizes the bladder muscles is prescribed.
It is advisable to consult your doctor about your urinary incontinence to avoid the risk of getting rashes and further infections and to prevent social or psychological trauma due to fear and embarrassment.