Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control, which results in involuntary urination. Urinary incontinence is often the subject of public humiliation for many patients, and the severity of incontinence can range from a few drops of urine to a strong flow.
You may see initial signs of incontinence, and you may receive a fore warning from a doctor if you are about to receive surgery that may cause incontinence; however, incontinence causes are usually discovered without many signs.
It is worth noting that some lifestyle decisions can cause incontinence. Being overweight can cause incontinence, as it increase the amount of pressure that sits on the bladder. Smoking can cause incontinence because it can cause coughing fits that put pressure on the bladder also.
The following types of incontinence can be experienced:
- Stress Incontinence: Stress incontinence is experienced when a sudden amount of pressure is suddenly exerted on the bladder, and the muscle around the bladder (sphincter) that keeps the valve shut is weakened. An example of stress incontinence would be a sudden sneeze, cough or outburst. Stress incontinence is classically seen in post-pregnant women who have experienced a weakening of the pelvic floor during childbirth or pregnancy.
- Urge Incontinence: Urge incontinence occurs when the bladder muscles suddenly contract, which start the process of involuntary urination. The sudden spasm doesn’t give you much time to get to the toilet (usually only a few seconds). There are multiple disorders that are thought to be the route of urge incontinence, such as Parkinson's. If a cause is not determined, the patient is said to simply have an overactive bladder.
- Overflow Incontinence: Overflow incontinence is usually experienced in those who have damaged bladder and muscle tissue. Overflow incontinence tends to be experienced in those who have had problematic births and pregnancy's. Generally overflow incontinence only allows you to produce a weak stream of urine, never letting you completely empty your bladder. This causes problems as constant dribbling and leaking can be seen, as the bladder seems to constantly overflow.
- Mixed Incontinence: Mixed incontinence is a common problem where stress and urge incontinence overlap. Mixed incontinence can also apply to other forms of incontinence overlapping.
- Functional Incontinence: Functional incontinence usually applies to elderly people who have the psychical ability to control bladder functions, but lack the mental capabilities. Also may apply to those who have the mental ability to control bladder functions but are unable to psychically get themselves to the toilet (disabled and handicapped).
- Gross Total Incontinence: Gross total incontinence applies to those who completely lack the function of the bladder, meaning that urine passes straight through the kidneys to the urethra. The bladders function is often disabled by spinal injuries.
Common Causes Of Incontinence
Urinary incontinence symptoms is not actually a disorder; it is a symptom of a larger issue. It is important to identify what the issue is. Please note that some foods and drinks may cause temporary incontinence, and a doctors diagnosis is always advised over online resources.
- Infections: Infections in the urinary tract can irritate the bladder which can lead to unexpected episodes of incontinence. A sign of an infection is a burning sensation or unpleasant smelling urine.
- Pregnancy/childbirth: Pregnant women may experience incontinence due to the weight of a baby putting pressure on the bladder. Women may experience problems during childbirth where the pelvic floor, delicate muscles and nerves become damaged.
- Aging: Aging can lead to the bladder becoming old, damaged and less effective. The risks of incontinence increase with high blood vessel disease, which is caused by smoking.
- Prostate: When the prostate gland increases in size, incontinence can be frequently seen. Enlarged prostates occur in older men, and usually start enlarging from the age of 40.
- Prostate Cancer: Although incontinence can be associated with prostate cancer, it is more commonly a side effect of the cancer treatments that come alongside the actual cancer.
- Bladder Cancer: Involuntary urination is often control signs of bladder cancer. If the cause for the incontinence is bladder cancer, blood in the urine and extreme pelvic pain will probably be experienced.
- Obstruction: Obstruction is when a tumor or bladder stone is located in the urinary tract, altering the normal flow of urine. Stones can be formed in the kidneys and can travel into the urinary tract, getting stuck and causing the actual incontinence.
- Painful Bladder Syndrome: This painful condition is occasionally linked with urinary incontinence.
- Prostatitis: Although incontinence isn’t usually associated with the inflammation of the prostate gland, it is very possible for it to happen.
- Neurological Disorders: Brain tumours, strokes, Parkinson's and multiple-scoliosis are neurological disorders that can directly impact on a persons ability to control the release of urine.