The first time you cough or sneeze and a little urine leaks out, you probably think it’s a freak accident. If it continues to occur and begins to get worse, suddenly you pay more attention and want answers to what causes urinary incontinence and how is it treated. Here are some of those answers.
Temporary Urinary Incontinence
Certain beverages, foods, and medications can cause temporary incontinence, and we soon learn how to avoid those particular triggers especially if we won’t have quick access to a bathroom.
Coffee, alcohol, carbonated drinks, chocolate, citrus fruits, blood pressure medications, sedatives, and muscle relaxers all act as diuretics which put pressure on the bladder and create more urine.
This is known as temporary incontinence and can be treated simply by avoiding these stimulants.
Persistent Urinary Incontinence
This type of incontinence is caused by a number of conditions which can be temporary or long lasting.
Some of those causes include the following:
Pregnancy and Childbirth
UI is more common in women due to the structure of their urinary tract. Pregnancy causes pressure on the bladder as the mother’s weight increases, and after childbirth the pelvic muscles become weaker. Sometimes these weakened muscles can cause pelvic prolapse where the organs fall to the bottom of the pelvis and move into the vagina.
Our bladder muscles become less able to store urine as we get older, therefore, involuntary bladder contractions become more frequent.
Women produce less estrogen after menopause. This hormone keeps the lining of the bladder and urethra healthy and strong. Without estrogen these tissues weaken and frequently cause urinary incontinence.
Any surgery that affects a woman’s reproductive system may damage the pelvic floor causing incontinence.
One of the few causes of UI in men, an enlarged prostate gland primarily in older men leads to urinary incontinence.
Other causes of UI in men include the following:
- Prostate cancer
- Neurological disorders like Parkinson’s, MS, a stroke, a brain tumor
- Obstruction like a tumor anywhere in the urinary tract
- Stones in the bladder
Treatments For Urinary Incontinence
There are several options to treat and control the symptoms of UI.
There are medications that relax the bladder muscle plus increase the amount of urine your bladder can hold. Nerve Stimulation is another option. Ask a Lowcountry Urology urologist about this treatment to stimulate nerves in the bladder to increase blood flow and strengthen the muscles.
Botox injections can relax an overactive bladder, but this treatment only lasts for several months.
Behavior modification is another way to reduce symptoms. Increasing the time between urinating, limiting fluids, and reducing caffeine and other triggers can help.
Exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor can be successful.
A pessary can be inserted into the vagina to reduce symptoms.
If your symptoms become severe or limit your daily activities, surgery may be recommended.
Contact Lowcountry Urology for treatment if you are experiencing symptoms of urinary incontinence.