If you have not heard of urinary incontinence, you are lucky. Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine – an individual urinates when they do not want to. Urinary incontinence is a common problem that affects many people. It is most common in individuals following a pelvic surgery, common in women during pregnancy or following childbirth and during menopause, and for men dealing with prostate health issues. Some individuals go through as many as four to six disposable pads a day and the leaking probably is not enough to need adult diapers. There are some innovative products to absorb leakage, however, we propose taking control of your bladder and treat the root problem of urinary incontinence.
Let’s examine what Urinary Incontinence is and then explore some options. Incontinence develops from both urologic and non-urologic causes. Bladder malfunctions and urethral dysfunctions are how we define urologic causes and may include detrusor muscle overactivity (overactive bladder), bladder noncompliance, urethral hypermobility (too much movement in the urethra), or intrinsic sphincter deficiency (malfunctions in the urethra prevent it from staying tightly closed). Causes such as medication or drugs, infections, polyuria (excessive passing and production of urine), stool impaction (constipation), restricted mobility, etc. are what specialists consider non-urologic causes.
There are four types of urinary incontinence:
· Urge Incontinence: caused by an overactive bladder
· Stress incontinence: due to the bladder not closing properly
· Overflow incontinence: caused by either poor bladder contraction or blockage of the urethra
· Functional incontinence: medications or health problems making it difficult to reach the restroom timely.
There are over 3.3 million Canadians experiencing urinary incontinence. It is important to note that urinary incontinence is not a disease, but an indicator or symptom of something else going on in the body. Many individuals with neurological disorders or spinal-cord injuries suffer from urinary incontinence, with 10% of six-year-old children, 1 in 4 women middle-aged or older, and 15% of all men aged 60 years and over. Furthermore, many young adult women experience urinary incontinence during pregnancy and/or childbirth.
There are some innovative products to absorb leakage. Here are a few of the best products for urinary incontinence:
- Fanny Pants Underwear
- Thinx Underwear
- Luna Pads
- Tree Hugger Cloth Pads
- Uresta Bladder Pads
*PantyProp and Willow offer leak-proof underwear options for men.
It is worth pointing out that these products are just a bandage; they cannot fix the issue, they simple are management options.
There are a variety of options for the management of incontinence. Many believe drinking less water will mitigate your urinary incontinence issues. We strongly recommend against doing so. Properly hydrating your body is important and decreasing your water intake can create a domino effect and add more problems. Dehydration can also irritate your bladder compounding your discomfort. We also recommend emptying your bladder often, not waiting until you feel full. Maintaining a healthy weight and exercise (especially low impact like biking or swimming) are going to lessen the effects or urinary incontinence. Exercise is especially important for those who suffer from stress incontinence. Limiting caffeine and alcohol will help as well, especially if you suffer from urge incontinence. If you smoke, quitting can help your whole bladder, even your urinary tract issues. We also recommend speaking to your healthcare provider; not only can they discuss options to cure, treat or manage, but they can examine the prescriptions you are on to see if they may be contributing to the issues. It is important to note that urinary incontinence can be caused by some diuretics, blood pressure medications, anti-depressants and more.
In order to be diagnosed and treated, your doctor will ask you what you eat and drink and how frequently you urinate to determine the cause. Therefore, if you find yourself experiencing urinary incontinence, it is recommended to track what you are eating/drinking, as well as how often you are urinating to help your doctor diagnose the issue. Their treatment plan may include exercises, pelvic training, medication and sometimes surgery, depending on the cause. Most people experiencing urinary incontinence can resolve their issues and cure the problem. You can also try the BTL Emsella, a revolutionary device and the only FDA approved treatment aimed at targeting those who suffer from urinary incontinence. BTL Emsella works by targeting the pelvic floor with thousands of ono-invasive supramaximal contractions stimulating the muscles along the pelvic floor and giving you back control over your bladder. You may experience tingling during the treatment and often notice results immediately following your first session. Each session is approximately 30 minutes and we typically expect to see our patients six times to resolve any issues. It is as easy as sitting back and letting the machine do the Kegels for you.