urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence: types and treatment

Did you know there are different types of urinary incontinence? It’s true! Leaking urine doesn’t affect women only in their golden years. There are all sorts of reasons your bladder can weaken, and myriad treatments that correspond to each. Millions of us experience urinary incontinence at various stages of our lives. Let’s take a look at the different types of urinary incontinence and explore the ways to prevent and resolve this (largely female) issue.

Types of urinary incontinence

Overactive bladder

Overactive bladder, also called urge incontinence, involves the urge to frequently rush to the bathroom. What’s more, you may not reach it in time and have a bit of an “accident.” This form of urinary incontinence is common. It’s a result of muscle damage, nervous system damage, and damage to nerves in the bladder. These weaknesses are typically due to conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s, stroke, and multiple sclerosis.

Stress incontinence

This type of urinary incontinence has to do with a leaky bladder that’s caused by weak muscles and tissues of the pelvic floor. You might experience leakage when you laugh, sneeze, cough or even exercise. Stress incontinence is largely due to childbirth, but can also be a result of being overweight.

Functional incontinence

This type comes from mental diseases like dementia or physical ones like arthritis, which keep you from reaching the restroom in time.

Mixed urinary incontinence

This simply means you have a combination of two types — stress and urge incontinence are common among women.

Overflow incontinence

If you dribble urine and can’t seem to empty your bladder, you probably have overflow incontinence. This type can be the result of chronic constipation, taking certain medications, weakened bladder muscles, nerve damage, or any condition that blocks urinary flow.

Treatments available for urinary incontinence

If you experience any type of urinary incontinence issue, you’re probably desperate for answers. The first thing to do is consult with your doctor. He or she will help determine which type of incontinence you have, and the treatment(s) that should follow.

Don’t forget your Kegels

Most of us can benefit from Kegel exercises — especially if stress incontinence is the problem. Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor, and can be done as a form of prevention, as well.

The great thing about Kegels is that you can do them anywhere, anytime. You simply squeeze as if you were stopping the flow of urine and hold that squeeze for about ten seconds. You can inhale for a count of ten as you do this. On an exhale, release the muscles out for a count of ten. Three or four sets of Kegel exercises each day should do the trick.

Other treatments for urinary incontinence

Other treatments include biofeedback, injections, surgery, pessary, medication, electrical stimulation, bladder training, timed voiding, catheter, or surgery.

As you can see, treatments vary. It’s best to schedule an appointment with your doctor rather than try to diagnose yourself. Incontinence is nothing to be ashamed of. Our bodies change with age and life experiences. Try to accept these changes with grace, and seek proper treatment to alleviate pain and discomfort.

OB/GYN Associates of Alabama offers a complete evaluation and treatment program for urinary incontinence. Contact us to schedule an appointment.