Urinary Incontinence

Know the general Facts (Inability to Control Urine)

By definition urinary incontinence refers to the inability to control the bladder resulting in involuntary loss of urine.

Urinary Incontinence is seen both in men and women. Although incontinence is not a disease in itself, the impact it can have on a person’s life is absolutely indisputable: limitation or inability to travel or to attend social events, the feeling of shame and embarrassment of ‘wetting’ one’s self, the fear that it can happen any time and it can’t be controlled, are just a few. There are two main types of incontinence:

  • Stress incontinence: involuntary loss of urine during sneezing, coughing, jumping, lifting weights or other kind of physical exercises
  • Urge incontinence: involuntary loss of urine occurs due to the hyperactivity of the bladder. Also known as “overactive bladder”
  • More types have been determined, but incidences are lower: mixed urinary incontinence, functional urinary incontinence and overflow incontinence.

Symptoms and Causes

Urinary incontinence may appear as a symptom of another underlying condition such as urinary tract infections (UTI) or an enlarged prostate in men, also during or after pregnancy and after a spinal cord injury or even a stroke.

Frequent sudden need to urinate, leaking urine before getting to the toilet, the need to urinate soon after returning from the toilet, are all signs of incontinence that should be examined by a medical professional and appropriate treatment much be sought.

Investigation and Diagnosis

In order to reach a diagnosis, the doctor will ask you about your urination habits, as follows:

  • how often do you urinate, when and how the leakage occurs, how much urine is lost?
  • and also perform a series of investigations to decide upon the type and the cause of the incontinence. The post void residual examination is a very common procedure most often recommended, as well as pelvic ultrasound, cystoscopy and uroflowmetry

Treatment and prevention

Unfortunately some women in their elderly years consider it just a sign of old age and never look for medical assistance, although incontinence can be treated with great success.

Depending on the cause and symptoms and looking into the results of the investigations, the treatment may vary from something as simple as Kegel exercises to surgery. Medication is also available and can be prescribed for specific types of urinary incontinence, also changes in diet and lifestyle are necessary.