35% of people over the age of 60 have been found to have some form of urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is defined as “any leakage of urine”. It is a common problem which can impact a patient’s quality of life. It is more common in women than men. Among other things, risk factors can include pregnancy, childbirth and menopause.
Urinary Incontinence isn’t a disease, it’s a symptom. It can be caused by everyday habits, underlying medical conditions or physical problems. A thorough evaluation by your doctor can help determine what’s behind your incontinence.
The two most common types of incontinence are stress and urgency incontinence. Urge incontinence is caused by an over active bladder and stress incontinence is due to poor closure of the bladder. Stress incontinence often occurs with coughing or sneezing. Patients with both problems have mixed urinary incontinence. Enuresis often used to classify urinary incontinence in children.
Urine leaks when you exert pressure on your bladder by coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising or lifting something heavy.
You have a sudden, intense urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine. You may need to urinate often, including throughout the night. Urge incontinence may be caused by a minor condition, such as infection, or a more-severe condition such as a neurologic disorder or diabetes.
Diagnosis is confirmed through urinalysis, physical exam and occasionally urodynamics and cystoscopy.
Treatment for urinary incontinence depends on the type of incontinence, its severity, and the underlying cause. A combination of treatments may be needed. If an underlying condition is causing your symptoms, your doctor will treat you first for that condition.
Your doctor may recommend less invasive treatments to start with and move on to other options is these techniques fail to help you.