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Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is the accidental leakage of urine. It is also referred to as poor bladder control. While it may happen to anyone, urinary incontinence is more common in older people. Women are more likely than men to be incontinent. If this problem is happening to you, there is help.

Incontinence can often be cured or controlled. Talk to your healthcare provider about what you can do.

Causes of Incontinence

Incontinence can happen for many reasons. For example, urinary tract in­fections, vaginal infection or irritation, constipation, and some medicines can cause bladder control problems that last a short time. When incontinence lasts longer, it may be due to:

Diagnosis

The first step in treating incontinence is to see a doctor. He or she will give you a physical exam and take your medical history. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and the medicines you use. He or she will want to know if you have been sick recently or had surgery. Your doctor also may do a number of tests. These might include:

In addition, your doctor may ask you to keep a daily diary of when you urinate and when you leak urine. Your family doctor may also send you to an urologist, a doctor who specializes in urinary tract problems.

Types of Incontinence

There are different types of incontinence:

Treatment of Urinary Incontinence

Today, there are more treatments for urinary incontinence than ever be­fore. The choice of treatment depends on the type of bladder control problem you have, how serious it is, and what best fits your lifestyle. As a general rule, the simplest and safest treatments should be tried first.

Bladder control training may help you get better control of your bladder. Your doctor may suggest you try the following:

Kegel Exercises

Here is a brief description of Kegel exercises that help tighten your pelvic floor muscles.

Women - Locate your pelvic muscles by stopping the flow of urine midstream. Empty your bladder, lie down, squeeze and hold these muscles for a count of three, then relax them for a count of three. Do this 10 times. Your goal is to do at least three sets of 10 each day.

Men - Identify your pelvic floor muscles by stopping the flow of urine in midstream. Empty your bladder, and then lie on your back with knees apart and bent. Squeeze your pelvic muscles for a count of three and relax for a count of three. Work up to doing 10 of these exercises three times a day.

If you are having symptoms of leaking or often need to rush to the bathroom, talk to your healthcare provider. It’s best to treat this problem in the early stages when the exercises are most helpful.

Management of Urinary Incontinence

Besides bladder control training, you may want to talk to your doctor about other ways to help manage incontinence:

Male Incontinence

Most incontinence in men is related to the prostate gland. Male incontinence may be caused by:

Over time, BPH can cause serious problems. Treating BPH early may reduce your chance of having urinary tract infections, incontinence, and bladder and kidney stones.


Reference: National Institute on Aging

Last updated January 7, 2017