Approximately 13 million Americans suffer from Urinary Incontinence (UI), which is the loss of bladder control. UI can be an embarrassing condition, and although many people are reluctant to talk about it, it is important to have information. The following is a list of 5 surprising facts that you may have not known about this condition.
1. There are six different types of urinary incontinence.
Urinary Incontinence does not show up the same way in everyone. The most common type of UI is Stress Incontinence, which happens while coughing, sneezing, laughing and other activities that may cause stress on the bladder. This type of UI usually coincides with major life events like pregnancy and menopause, and it can be effectively treated.
Urge Incontinence is another type of UI commonly referred to as ‘overactive bladder, and it usually happens right after a strong and sudden urge to use the bathroom. Functional Incompetence happens to people who are not able to reach the toilet when they feel the urge to urinate, like Alzheimer’s patients and those confined to a wheelchair. Leakage due to the bladder not emptying itself completely is called Overflow Incontinence, and Mixed Incontinence is the combination of 2 types of UI. The final type of UI, Transient Incontinence, is temporarily caused by some sort of illness, and it ends once the illness has been fully treated.
2. There are many possible causes of Urinary Incontinence.
Menopause and pregnancy are just 2 of several possible causes of UI. Long term constipation, certain medication, caffeine and alcohol can cause the body to release urine involuntarily. Urinary tract and bladder infections, nerve damage and excess weight are also linked to the development of UI.
3. There are several risk factors.
While UI is not an automatic symptom of aging, as you get older, you have greater risk of developing it. This is because bladder and urethra muscles begin to get weaker, and your bladder is not able to hold the amount of liquid it was once able to.
Regarding specific types of UI, women are more likely to develop Stress Incontinence because of pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and female anatomy. Men, on the other hand, are at a higher risk for developing Overflow Incontinence because of issues with prostate glands.
Being overweight, smoking and family history are other risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing UI.
4. Urinary Incontinence causes several complications.
Urinary Incontinence can lead to other conditions such as skin problems and urinary tract infections. If your skin is constantly wet because of leakage, rashes, skin infections and sores can become an issue.
This condition can be extremely embarrassing, and put a great deal of stress on the person dealing with it when they are attempting to navigate social, professional and personal settings.
5. There are several types of treatment.
In addition to medication, surgery and medical devices, there are several other ways to treat UI. Behavioral treatments include pelvic muscle exercises, bladder retraining, weight loss, dietary changes and the elimination of smoking. Some find that Nerve Stimulation is effective, which uses electrical stimulation of the nerves to control the bladder.
The process of Biofeedback involves using an electrical patch, wiring and a television screen to help patients learn how their bodies work in attempt to assist with bladder control.
If you suspect that you have Urinary Incontinence, it is important to seek consultation with your doctor. Receiving a diagnosis may be uncomfortable, but it is important to obtain the guidance of a professional so that you make an informed decision on how to best proceed.