If you have ever experienced Urinary Incontinence before you will understand how embarrassing it is. Imagine visiting your friends and you are all happy and cheerful. Then you wanted to visit the bathroom, only to realize you cannot hold till you get to the toilet. That might even be better; at least you are on the way to the restroom. Maybe you are just seated in a coffee shop and then feel the urge to sneeze, but after sneezing twice you realized you are wet down there. It could be the most embarrassing moment of your life, but the worst part of it is that it might happen over and over again.
Urinary incontinence is a medical condition in which the urge to urinate suddenly develops and you might not be able to hold it. In some cases, the urge develops if you sneeze or jump or if you carry heavy weight. Although it affects both males and females it affects females more.
The medical condition develops if the organs controlling urination are stressed or stretched. Therefore, anything that affects the bladder pelvis, ureter, or urethra can lead to urinary incontinence. This is more of the reason it affects females as pregnancy and childbirth may take their tolls on the organs mentioned. A woman who had childbirth involving forceps is even more at risk. It is particularly more common among ladies above the age of 40. The female anatomy is another reason this condition is more common in women than in men. The bladder and the uterus are involved in urination and there are many tissues that support both at the same time in females. If anything happens to any of the tissues, it will have more effect on urine excretion. Hormonal changes are another reason UI occurs in ladies, as a lady’s hormone level changes during different times in her cycle, it may trigger loose bladder. Menopause can also be responsible. This is due to the reduction in the level of the hormone called estrogen after menopause.
Urinary Incontinence gets worse with aging, hence older women are at a higher risk than younger ones. Mothers are equally at a higher risk than those without children. Generally, it is more common among ladies above 40 years of age.
But Men Are Also Not Spare
Urinary Incontinence can also affect men. The most common cause of this condition among men is untreated prostate cancer. It can also occur in men as a side effect of prostate cancer treatment. Older men with enlarged prostates can also suffer a lack of bladder control.
Urinary incontinence can be caused by some habits like smoking, excessive drinking of alcohol, or caffeinated drinks. Being overweight can also be a cause of loss of bladder control. Aging and family history has also been associated with it. If you have a tumor on any part of your excretory system, this condition may manifest as one of the side effects. Other diseases like diabetes, strokes, cancer, and Parkinson’s diseases can all trigger urinary incontinence. Whatever causes constipation can also lead to UI.
So, how can it be treated?
Sometimes you can be free of this embarrassing condition by simply changing your lifestyle. Stop smoking if you are a smoker. Also, stop drinking alcohol and all carbonated drinks and drinks containing caffeine. Try to lose weight and eat healthy food. Eat less acidic food and let your diet consist more of fibers as that will ensure you don’t have constipation. You should also avoid chocolate, artificial sweeteners, and chili pepper. Exercise can also help, especially the Kegal exercise, if you can do it enough to bring the expected result. Stretching the upper body and some other physical therapies can also help.
Another thing you can do is to train yourself or train your bladder. You can train yourself by paying attention to the frequency at which you go to the bathroom. So you know when to go before the urge comes suddenly. But it is better to train your bladder to withhold the urine. In this case, ensure you are at home, then try for as long as possible to resist the urge when it comes. With that, you will train your bladder and over time it may get better.
However, a more critical condition may require medical treatment. Unfortunately, most of the medical treatment options available are either painful or risky. Common medical treatments for urinary incontinence include:
Sling: This is done by placing a mesh under the urethra. This will provide support for the urethra and help the bladder to hold up urine for a longer period. Unfortunately, this medical procedure has only recorded a mixed result.
Nerve Stimulation: Similarly to sling, nerve stimulation to treat urinary incontinence involves placing a device under the skin. If the device is placed around the hips, it will stimulate the nerves controlling the muscles of the bladder.
Botox Injection: Botox might be injected directly into the bladder. This will slow down the rate at which the bladder contract hence prevents urgent urge for urination. However, this effect will not last longer than six to nine months. It means the procedure, as painful and risky as it is, must be repeated frequently.
Use of Anticholinergic Drugs: Although these drugs can help prevent urinary incontinence and save you from embarrassment, it may also have more harmful consequences. Anticholinergic drugs have many dangerous side effects which can vary from constipation to mouth odor, to high blood pressure, and at the peak of dementia.
Other Treatments: Some other injections can also be administered to prevent or reduce this medical condition. Vaginal inserts have also been found to be helpful. However, nothing has proved to be a huge success in the fight against this lack of bladder control. Not too long ago, Alex Miller, a health and fitness expert, discovered a better way of treating this condition that doesn’t involve pain or risk. It is a simple but strange upper body stretch.
With Gratitude and Love