Urinary incontinence is defined as the involuntary loss of urine which the patient describes as being “wet”. Urinary control is maintained by an intact nervous system which directs the muscles and sphincters of the pelvis. If there is compromise of the nervous system (neurologic disease such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, etc.) or the muscles/sphincters (trauma, surgery, radiation, infection) then urinary control may be adversely affected.
In addition to the above, there are general causes of incontinence which often vary by gender particularly as men/women age. In men, there may be overflow incontinence in which the bladder is blocked often by an enlarged prostate. In women, there may be stress incontinence, caused by laxity of the pelvic muscles which occurs with age and is often accentuated as a result of childbirth.
Both men and women suffer from urgency incontinence (i.e., getting to the bathroom in time). This occurs as the bladder becomes fibrotic (less compliant) with age. As a result of this, older adults can’t postpone urinating and void more frequently that younger people. The same is true for older people whose bladder awakens them at night and often interferes with what had been ‘normal’ sleep habits.
There is treatment available for all forms of incontinence and urinary urgency and frequency. These run the gamut from behavioral therapy, timed voiding, medication and surgical procedures.
Snow is such a beautiful thing! Makes everything look so clean and adds this nice serene feel to the scene. However it still causes some delays with transportation and other public services. We’re open and ready to help with your urological problems. Kidney stones don’t wait, urinary frequency doesn’t relent and prostate issues don’t take a break because of the weather.
Be careful in your commute today everyone!
Many female patients come to us with similar urinary related concerns. Some of these may be affecting you as well. Follow these posts as we address many of these issues. Please note these Q&A are not treatment advise but simplified answers to general issues that affect many women alike. If you or anyone you know has some or any of these symptoms, please call for appointment or visit your preferred doctor. Ladies, don’t your lifestyle be defined by your urinary problems.
Q: Are female incontinence and urinary frequency an inevitable part of aging?
A: Although female incontinence, urinary frequency and urgency are more common in women as they get older, not every woman will leak urine as she ages. If you feel that you are going to the bathroom more often or that you need a pad because of urinary leakage, treatments are available to help manage your bladder.
Q: How can I prevent incontinence and do I have to take medication? Are there holistic treatments for this problem?
A: Urinary incontinence cannot be prevented but it can be managed if the problem is interfering with your quality of life. The first line intention is behavior modification, which includes urinating at fixed interval (for example, every two hours), managing fluid intake based on the availability of a bathroom, and kegel exercises. If these efforts fail to control the leakage, medication is available.