What Causes Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence, or uncontrollable leakages of urine, is a common condition that affects more than one in three women. It can have a huge impact on your quality of life, with you worrying about when you will next experience a leakage and planning all of your activities around having a toilet nearby.

The good news is that you don’t have to live with urinary incontinence – there are many different treatment options available to help you manage your symptoms and get back to enjoying the things you love most. There are medicines, lifestyle changes and surgical treatments to choose from, with each option having its own pros and cons that your healthcare provider will discuss with you.

What Causes Incontinence?

Several factors can lead to urinary incontinence, including pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. These events can weaken the muscles that support your bladder and urethra, leading to urine leakage. Other factors include:

Over time, the lining of your bladder can become damaged and inflamed. This can be caused by an infection (UTI) or medications that you may be taking. Drinking certain beverages, such as coffee and alcohol, can also make you feel the need to urinate more often.

If your incontinence is caused by a temporary health condition, it will usually stop once the cause of your leakage is treated. However, if your incontinence is a symptom of a chronic health condition, it is likely to be something that you will need to learn how to manage over a long period of time.

For both women and men, the best way to deal with urinary incontinence is to make some simple changes to your daily routine. You can start by reducing your fluid intake, stopping drinking caffeinated drinks and making sure you have easy access to a toilet. You can also try pelvic floor exercises, known as Kegel exercises, to strengthen the muscles that control your bladder and urethra.

A more serious option is a medication that can be used to treat the bladder muscle problems that are causing your leakage. You can also try a bladder training program to improve your bladder control, but this is only suitable for some people with mild to moderate incontinence.

There are also special toilets available for people who struggle with incontinence, including ones that have raised edges and are designed to be easier to step onto. Your healthcare provider will be able to advise you on the most suitable toilet for your needs.

What are the symptoms of Incontinence?

There are two main types of incontinence: stress incontinence and urge incontinence. Stress incontinence can be triggered by exercise, coughing or laughing and occurs when the muscles that hold your bladder in place are put under pressure. Urge incontinence happens when you have a sudden strong need to urinate but can’t reach the bathroom in time.

Your doctor will diagnose your incontinence using a physical exam and a review of your medical history. They will ask you about the type of incontinence you have and when it occurs, along with any other symptoms you are having. You might be asked to keep a diary of when you urinate and how much urine you produce. You might also have a test called a bladder ultrasound, which involves placing a small probe against your bladder and urethra to measure the pressure within.

Should you wish to discuss your condition with an experienced Australian trained Doctor or expert in this area. Please book in for an online and Telehealth consultation. Phenix Health is always available when you need us 24/7. Contact bookings@phenixhealth.com.au.