Urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence – a menace that can be managed

The social taboo of urinary continence is very prevalent. Females generally muster up a lot of courage very late to reach out to a doctor to find a solution to their problem. They try to manage with daily usage of pads and panty-liners, thinking that it is part and parcel of their lives. First, it should not be frowned upon; secondly, if someone suffers from it, they should be guided to visit a gynecologist.

What is urinary continence?

Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine. It can be of 2 types, stress incontinence, in which urine leaks on coughing, sneezing, laughing, or straining. Urge incontinence is leaking urine after a strong urge to pass urine before being able to reach the bathroom.

How common is urinary incontinence?

Approximately 21% of females suffer from it, with the majority reporting stress urinary incontinence. The majority of patients belong to the postmenopausal age group.

Why does it happen?

It commonly happens in postmenopausal females. Other common risk factors include obesity, smoking, recurrent UTI, pregnancy, childbirth, especially prolonged labor, high caffeine intake, chronic cough, constipation, and occupational weight lifting.

What are the ways to prevent incontinence?

Prevention is always better than cure. Prevention starts right from the predisposing factor. Weight reduction and smoking cessation help with its management. Recurrent UTI may be a trivial matter for people in general rather, it should be promptly diagnosed and treated. Pelvic muscle exercises like Keigel’s exercises are a savior for such cases when started early in the disease course. Fluids should be taken and chosen judiciously. Bladder irritants like tea, coffee, alcohol, and very spicy food should be avoided, as they may precipitate urge incontinence.

How can incontinence be treated?

The type of continence has to be diagnosed before giving a treatment protocol. So a visit to the gynecologist is mandatory to devise a treatment plan.

Stress urinary incontinence :

Conservative management includes pelvic floor exercises, scheduled voiding of the bladder, estrogen replacement, urethral inserts, and urethra-supporting pessaries. Surgical management is the last resort for SUI management.

Urge incontinence :

Medical management along with behavioral therapy is the mainstay treatment for urge incontinence. With proper diagnosis and guidance, these can be managed very easily.

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