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What Causes Urinary Incontinence And What You And Your Doctor Might Do About It

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Many things cause urinary incontinence, so there are several treatment options available. No matter what the cause, you need a solution because urinary incontinence can make your life difficult. It can affect your personal relationships as well as your self-confidence. Incontinence can make it difficult to work or have an active lifestyle, especially if you have a hard time adapting to wearing pads. Here's an overview of the different types of incontinence and how they might be treated.

Types Of Incontinence

Urinary incontinence appears in different ways. Stress incontinence is when your bladder leaks when you laugh, cough, or sneeze. Urge incontinence is when you have an urge to use the bathroom, but you can't wait to get there before your bladder starts leaking. These two types of incontinence often appear together in women.

Overflow incontinence is when your bladder doesn't empty, so you often dribble urine. Functional incontinence occurs when you're unable to make it to the bathroom in time due to a mental or physical condition. Both men and women can have urinary incontinence, and it can happen to all ages.

Causes Of Incontinence

Understanding the type and cause of your incontinence is important so your doctor can choose the right treatment. Obesity might contribute to stress incontinence. A medical condition, such as diabetes, might affect your nerves and lead to urge incontinence or an overactive bladder. Bladder cancer, tumors, urinary tract infections, pregnancy, prostate problems, menopause, and changes due to aging can also lead to problems with incontinence.

Treatments For Urinary Incontinence

Your doctor may start with lifestyle changes first. This might include losing weight, eating a healthy diet so you can avoid constipation, avoiding spicy foods and additives that irritate your bladder, or adjusting medications that make your incontinence worse.

Your doctor may also recommend pelvic floor exercises, and they might recommend you take physical therapy to strengthen your pelvic floor. You might also need to train your bladder to empty on a set schedule. If lifestyle changes don't help, your doctor might recommend prescription medications that relax your bladder muscles or that deliver estrogen to your pelvic area to strengthen your urethra.

Sometimes, medical devices help with incontinence. These may be inserted in your vagina or urethra to help support your pelvic area and block leakage. If nothing seems to relieve your incontinence symptoms, your doctor might recommend surgery. There are a few surgeries for incontinence that your doctor might consider. These include the sling procedure for stress incontinence, pelvic prolapse surgery, and surgery that supports the bladder.

Surgery is usually left as the last choice, since making lifestyle changes is often enough to make a difference in your urinary incontinence symptoms.