What Causes Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary incontinence commonly occurs with many women, yet is something not often talked about. Many may not be aware of the simple treatment options to improve their incontinence. Weight gain, injury, hormonal level changes or the natural aging process can cause urinary incontinence. Weakness in the pelvic floor muscles also can result from childbirth and gynecological surgery. Here are 3 common types of urinary incontinence:
1. Stress incontinence: unintentional loss of urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing or physical activity.
This is the most common type of incontinence. This is caused due to conditions like obesity, menopause, aging, pregnancy and childbirth. Each of these conditions can put pressure (stress) on your bladder.
Abdominal pressure in individuals with obesity, can cause an increase in incontinence. However, it can be alleviated with weight loss.
Stress incontinence can worsen during the week before your menstrual period. At that time, lowered estrogen levels might lead to lower muscular pressure around the urethra, increasing chances of leakage. The incidence of stress incontinence increases following menopause.
Older women experience incontinence more often than younger women. But incontinence is not inevitable with age. Urinary incontinence is a medical problem. Your doctor at Summit OB/GYN can help you find a solution.
Childbirth and other events can injure the scaffolding that helps support the bladder in women. The bladder is supported by ligaments, the vagina and pelvic floor muscles. If these structures weaken, the bladder can leak urine during moments of physical stress.
If you have stress incontinence, you may feel embarrassed, isolate yourself, or limit your work and social life, especially exercise and leisure activities. Discuss symptoms and treatment options with Dr. Biggs or Dr. Cohn. You’ll likely be able to manage stress incontinence and improve your overall well-being.
2. Urge incontinence: the unintentional loss of urine caused by the bladder muscle contracting, usually associated with a sense of urgency.
If you lose urine for no apparent reason after suddenly feeling the need or urge to urinate, you may have urge incontinence. A common cause of urge incontinence is inappropriate bladder contractions. Abnormal nerve signals may be the cause of these bladder spasms.
Urge incontinence can mean that your bladder empties during sleep, after drinking a small amount of water, or when you touch water or hear it running (i.e. washing dishes, hearing the shower run). Certain fluids and medications such as diuretics or emotional states such as anxiety can worsen this condition. Some woman can be sensitive to the diuretic effect of coffee, increasing their incontinence. Some medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism and uncontrolled diabetes, can also lead to or worsen urge incontinence.
Involuntary actions of bladder muscles can occur because of damage to the nerves of the bladder, to the nervous system (spinal cord and brain), or to the muscles themselves.
3. Mixed incontinence: any combination of stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
When evaluating your symptoms of incontinence, it may be helpful to know that it is common for many women to experience a combination of stress and urge incontinence together.
Finding a Treatment for You
No single treatment works for every situation, but many women find improvement that reduce the stress and worry in their daily lives. Contact your doctor at Summit OB/GYN to discuss symptoms and treatment options.