What is Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the unintentional passing of urine or leaking of urine. It is a common problem, especially among women, and it is estimated that between 3 and 6 million people in the UK alone are sufferers. Severe incontinence increases with age.
23% of women affected by the problem put off seeking help because of embarrassment.
Urinary incontinence is a symptom rather than a condition.
There are different types of incontinence:
- Stress urinary incontinence: urine leaks out when the bladder is under pressure (coughing, laughing, execise)
- Urge urinary incontinence: there is a sudden need to pass urine before reaching a toilet, related to overactive bladder
- Mixed urinary incontinence: a mixture of both stress and urge incontinence
- Overflow urinary incontinence: urine overflows due to a blockage (more common in men)
What are the causes of urinary incontinence?
The causes of urinary incontinence are different depending on the type of incontinence.
- Stress urinary incontinence: usually due to weakening of the muscles that prevent urination (the pelvic floor muscles, the urethral sphincter) or a ‘dropped’ bladder (bladder hernia called cystocele), often as a consequence of childbirth.
- Urge urinary incontinence: overactivity of the bladder muscle (detrusor). See overactive bladder
- Overflow urinary incontinence: blockage or obtrusion to the bladder outlet (enlarged prostate, constipation, bladder stones) or loss of bladder tone, obesity, diabetes
Common treatments for urinary incontinence
- Lifestyle changes
- Bladder training
- Medication: Anticholinergics and Antimuscarinics, Betmiga, Desmopressin, Alpha Blockers, Tri-Cyclic Anti-Depressants
- Electrical Stimulation
- Intravesical Injections
- Clean Intermittent Self-Catheterisation
- Surgery: Surgery for a Prolapse of the Bladder (Cystocele), Surgery for an Enlarged Prostate
- Pelvic floor exercises
Pin ‘What is Urinary Incontinence’ for later:
- COB Continence Support July 2016 http://www.cobfoundation.org/bladder-conditions/continence-support/other-treatment
- NHS Choices Urinary Incontinence Oct 2014 http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Incontinence-urinary/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- Gillespie, Larrian You Don’t Have to Live with Cystitis (New York: Avon Books, 1996)
- Deng, DY Urinary incontinence in women Med Clin North Am.2011 Jan [95(1):101-9] available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21095414
- Nitti, Victor The Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence Rev Urol. 2001 [3(Suppl 1): S2–S6.] available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1476070/
- Nygaard, IE Stress urinary incontinence. Obstet Gynecol.2004 Sep [104(3):607-20.] available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15339776
- DeLancey, John O.L Why Do Women have Stress Urinary Incontinence? Neurourology and Urodynamics (2010) [29:S13–S17]