Urinary Incontinence: 6 Things You Should Know

Urinary incontinence has consequences on the sufferer's emotional health, sexual life and social environment. Learn more about this common condition in this article.
Urinary Incontinence: 6 Things You Should Know

Last update: 15 March, 2019

Urinary incontinence is when the bladder involuntarily releases urine. This occurs on a regular basis when coughing or exerting any kind of force on the body. According to the National Institute on Aging, it can also occur with infections and constipation.

It’s a very common problem and affects about 30% of adult women and the elderly. 

Most cases are caused by a weakening of the muscles in the pelvic area. However, this issue can also develop after giving birth naturally, consuming certain medication or due to several vaginal infections.

Since its symptoms are uncomfortable and embarrassing, it presents a hygienic and psychological problem for those who suffer from it.

In addition, this condition ends up having a significant effect on the quality of life of the sufferer most of the time. This is because of the difficulties or inability to control it.

This condition can occur at any time in life, but it’s more common after pregnancy and menopause.

Taking into account that everyone may suffer from it, it’s convenient to know some important information about its development.

1. It can be caused  by resisting the urge to urinate

urinary incontinence

Holding in your urine for a long time is a very common habit and is directly related to developing urinary incontinence.

At first, it may not seem to cause negative effects. Nonetheless, over time it weakens the bladder and exerts more pressure on the urethra.

This leads to involuntary urination, especially when exercising, laughing, coughing or doing another other activity that involves a little force.

Many experts claim that the bladder should be emptied at least every 4 hours, since this is when reaches its maximum storage capacity.

2. This condition is caused by a weakening of the pelvic muscles

One of the reasons this condition develops is because many people forget that you should also exercise your pelvic muscles.

Currently, there are several types of routines that increase the strength and control over this area of the body when practiced on a regular basis.

On the other hand, it’s important to keep in mind that some high-impact exercises can have negative effects on this problem.

Running, jumping or lifting weights improperly can lead to stretching pelvic floor fibers so that it loses the ability to contract.

3. Some foods increase risk of urinary incontinence

drinks urinary incontinence

Excessively consuming some foods is related to the increased risk of this health problem.

This is because their compounds can irritate the bladder and cause it to contract more often to release the fluid.

This condition may also occur after drinking beverages and diuretic products that increase the production of urine.

These include:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Tomato juice
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Soft drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Hot peppers

4. There are several types of urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence can develop in different ways, which means there are several types of the disease.

  • The type of this condition that occurs when sneezing, coughing or lifting something heavy is known as “stress incontinence” and is one of the most common forms of urinary incontinence.
  • “Urge incontinence” is when there is a sudden release of urine when the person least expects it, even at inopportune moments.
  • There is also “psychogenic incontinence.” This type is related to the bladder releasing urine when the person makes contact with external stimuli such as the cold or water.
  • Finally, there’s a variety called “neurological incontinence”. This develops in patients with nervous system disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and those with spinal cord injuries.

5. Men may also have it

Thoughtful man in the living room

The female population has the highest risk of developing this urinary problem. However, that doesn’t mean that men are exempt from suffering it.

Its development can be caused by damage to the bladder or certain prostate conditions. In fact, it’s common in patients who are stressed or have problems with diabetes.

6. There are several treatments for this condition

Although this problem can’t always be completely controlled, there are some treatments that help reduce its recurrence and symptoms.

Regularly practicing strengthening exercises, such as Kegel exercises, increase the strength of the pelvic muscles and reduce involuntary urine leakage.

Techniques such as double voiding have also given interesting results when it comes to controlling the bladder.

Antimuscarinic drugs, which block bladder contractions, and alpha-adrenergic agonist drugs also serve to increase sphincter strength.

The last resort is surgery, which consists of a cutting into the vagina and performing a paravaginal repair.

In addition to taking into account the data, it’s essential to know that this condition has consequences on the sufferer’s emotional health, sexual life and social environment.

Therefore, if you suspect that you may suffer from this condition then it’s essential to seek medical help to control it.

Finally, we hope you liked our article, for more information about urinary incontinence or pregnancy click below!

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  • Urinary Incontinence in Older Adults. National Institute on Aging. US Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/urinary-incontinence-older-adults
  • Demaagd GA, Davenport TC. Management of urinary incontinence. P T. 2012;37(6):345-361H.
  • Muscarinic antagonist. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscarinic_antagonist
  • Landefeld CS, Bowers BJ, Feld AD, Hartmann KE, Hoffman E, Ingber MJ, et al. National Institutes of Health State-of-the-Science Conference Statement: Prevention of Fecal and Urinary Incontinence in Adults. Ann Intern Med. ;148:449–458. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-148-6-200803180-00210