Keep incontinence from becoming a problem

Keep incontinence from becoming a problem

Sometimes, activities such as laughing, sneezing or lifting a heavy object can lead to embarrassment from urinary incontinence.

According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, urinary incontinence affects up to 22 percent of U.S. adults at some point in their lives. The NKUDIC reports that women experience urinary incontinence twice as often as men.

However, the number could be much higher because, according to the National Association for Continence, only one-third of men and women between the ages of 30 and 70 discuss their bladder issues with a health professional.

Only one in eight Americans who experience loss of bladder control have been diagnosed with incontinence, and about half of all nursing home residents experience urinary incontinence.

Here is what you need to know about urinary incontinence:

Definition: According to the NAFC, loss of bladder control is not so much a condition but a symptom of other conditions, such as birth defects, diabetes, pelvic surgery, pelvic injury, spinal cord injury, neurological problems, multiple sclerosis, infection or complication of childbirth.

Stress; overactive bladder; pelvic organ prolapse; enlarged prostate; and benign prostatic hyperplasia also can contribute to the problem.

Symptoms: These include involuntary urine leakage; nocturia, or the need to get up at night to use the toilet; bedwetting and the inability to drain urine completely.

Diagnosis: In addition to taking a medical history and performing a physical exam, the doctor may order a variety of tests, including X-rays, internal camera exams, blood analysis and urine analysis. More in-depth tests specific to the urinary system include bladder capacity, the condition of the sphincter that holds and releases urine, urethral pressure and how much urine is left behind after the patient has urinated.

Treatment: According to NACF, about 80 percent of those with urinary incontinence can be cured. However, treatment is usually based on the underlying condition that causes the incontinence.

As part of that treatment, the patient may also undergo behavioral modification, such as “scheduled toileting”; be told to perform Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles and sphincter; be given or taken off certain medications; or undergo pelvic muscle re-education.

Surgery may be used as a last resort. Consult a Cincinnati urologist to make sure which treatment is right for you.


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