Any kind of urine leakage without self-control is termed incontinence. Women experience incontinence twice as often as men, but more than 50% of women in India do not report to a doctor.
The main reasons for the higher incidence of urinary incontinence in a woman include pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and the structure of the female urinary tract.
Incontinence is usually characterized as:
1. Overflow incontinence: Incompletely emptying of the bladder leading to overflow/unexpected leaking.
2. Urge incontinence: Severe urgency, leaking before reaching the washroom.
3. Stress incontinence: A small to moderate amount of urine is leaked without control when there is stress on the bladder with physical movements such as sneezing, coughing, laughing, exercising, or lifting heavy objects. The stress here is physical in nature and unrelated to emotional distress.
Women more likely to develop
Nerve injuries to the lower back Prior pelvic surgery
Weakened urethral sphincter muscle Pregnancy and childbirth
Complications of stress incontinence may include:
Personal distress: Incontinence with daily activities may make you feel embarrassed and distressed by the condition.
Mixed urinary incontinence: Mixed incontinence is common with both stress incontinence and urge incontinence
Skin rash or irritation: Skin that is continuously in contact with urine is likely to be irritated or sore and can break down.
Testing isn’t necessary in most cases of uncomplicated stress urinary incontinence. Tests to diagnose incontinence include:
Urinalysis: Checking urine samples for infection, blood, or abnormalities.
Urine Flow Test: Testing rate of urine flow and quantity of urine passed
Bladder Scan: Measuring the amount of urine that remains in the bladder after urination
Cystoscopy: Assessing urinary tract problems by inserting a narrow tube with a tiny camera into the bladder
Urodynamic Studies: Testing how well the bladder, sphincters, and urethra can hold and release
Urine Stress Test: Checking if the stress on the bladder causes leakage by asking the patient to stand or cough while the bladder is full
Behavioral techniques: Pelvic muscle exercises, bladder training, and the use of specially designed absorbent underclothing can help with incontinence.
Medications: A course of drugs under a doctor’s supervision can help treat incontinence
Surgery: A variety of surgical options are available for the treatment of incontinence.
Bulking agent: Injecting a bulking agent into or around the urethra to improve the way the sphincter closes.
Good Practices To Be Followed:
Reduce caffeine intake
Drinking small amounts of fluid rather than large amounts all at once.
Following good genital hygiene
Passing urine after every 2-3 hours
Maintaining body weight
Avoid holding urine, use of unnecessary antibiotics, use of community toilets, and drinking water or urinary alkalinizers
Visit a urologist/urogynecologist if the problem persists
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