Loss of bladder control
. Do you remember that first moment you were wetting yourself and there was nothing you could do to stop it? Sometimes life comes at you and you just have to treat it like an ordinary day.
How do you know you have a problem?
- Do you find that urine leaks out before you are able to get to a bathroom?
- Do you find that you urinate a little without warning?
- Do you find you have an urge to pee several times a day (more than 8)?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions you may be suffering from incontinence.
What causes incontinence?
- Illness - Often incontinence is just a symptom of an illness like a bladder infection or a urinary tract infection. Once the illness has subsided so does the incontinence.
- Constipation - The inability to have a bowel movement.
- Medication - Certain medications have an incontinence side effect. Read carefully the contra-indications of all medication you are currently taking.
- A weak bladder - Crickey, I suffered from this one. As a child I refused to use public restrooms. Upon coming back from a family road trip vacation one year, I overtaxed my bladder muscles by holding the urine in and not going to the bathroom. That left me with a weakened bladder as a result. I needed to take a week off school and plenty of reading material was placed in the loo, as I waited for my body to regain some of its muscular vigor.
- Weakening of the muscles around the bladder - These weakened muscles can sometimes cause urine to leak out when you sneeze, cough, laugh too hard and participate in intimate or physical activities. Women who have had children experience this sometimes.
- Arthritis and other movement limiting illnesses – these people usually have healthy bladders. The incontinence here stems from the illness not allowing them to reach a bathroom for relief in a reasonable amount of time.
- Damage to the spine/physical injury – The nerves that control the bladder are located in the spine. As a result damage to the spine can be a cause of incontinence.
- Overactive bladder muscles
- Blocked Urinary tract/passageway or a blockage caused by an enlarged prostate.
Let’s face it when nature calls you have to be able to answer. The answer is not to stay home and hide the problem rather than going out with friends. People not only conceal the problem from those who are closest to them but from their own doctor as well. Incontinence is not a jail sentence- where the only treatments are adult diapers and a remoter control TV in your loo because you aint gonna have a social life ever. No ma’am. Nope that does not have to be you. Modern medicine has a few modern treatments and quick fixes to offer you before you turn into a hermit.
Incontinence is more likely to affect women and the elderly. Incontinence is treatable. This applies across the board to everyone. The problem can either be cured, leakage decreased or at least made manageable so that you can lead a normal life. Aging does not cause incontinence. It is not normal for anyone to suffer from incontinence despite your age.
4 Types of incontinence
Treatment- what's available:
- Functional incontinence
This affects mostly elderly individuals. Their bladder control is normal however other factors like arthritis and movement difficulties make it difficult for them to reach the toilet in time.
- Overflow Incontinence. Usually occurs when an always full bladder leaks small amounts. It may be because the urethra is blocked by an enlarged prostate and the patient cannot fully empty his bladder. This may be also be caused by a spinal injury.
- Urge incontinence. This is when you cannot hold the urge to urinate long enough to reach the bathroom. This too can be found in healthy people.
- Stress. This is mostly related to women who have had children or are undergoing menopause. If you find you leak a little when you do an activity like sneeze, laugh, or pick up a heavy object.
You are no longer limited to adult diapers or pads, there are many other options available to suit a variety of needs.
- Habit training - This helps you form a habit of going to the bathroom at a set time periods to void a mishap usually once every two to four hours. Scheduling bathroom trips with gradually longers periods will retrain your bladder to better hold urine.
Treatments for women
- Bladder exercises - This will help strengthen the muscles around your bladder. Here is a resource you could try: http://www.agenet.com/kegel_exercises.html .
- Drugs/Medication - a healthcare professional should be consulted about the latest pharmacological alternatives that best suit you.
- Surgery - Common surgical procedures include implanting a sacral nerve stimulator or an artificial urinary sphincter, periurethral bulking injections, sling procedures and bladder neck suspension.
- Catheters - a practical, discrete solution for men and women. Catheters can be worn underclothing and are virtually invisible. In fact the stadium pal is catheter that was invented by a keen sports fan who didn't want to miss a minute of his favorite team playing by standing in line for the rest room.
- Portable Urinals - Portable urinals have come a long way since the empty bottle. Like the Travel JohnTM available at BioRelief.com is useful and designed to be used by men, women and children. Having a portable urinal ready to use at a moments notice is a good way to keep you from breaking your progress with habit training. The Travel John is small enough to store in the glove box of your car just in case of an emergency. It's truly a handy item that I've added to my First aid kit and travel bag. They are also useful to have on a boat, or small plane.
How to get diagnosed
- Estrogen - some women experience shrinkage of the vaginal and urethral lining tissue after menopause. Estrogen treatments have been shown to help. Estrogen can be taken as a patch worn on the skin, a vaginal cream or an insert-able ring.
- Reliance Urinary Control Insert - a small plug in device that is inserted into the urethra to prevent leakage.
See your doctor. He will give you a physical examination and carry out urine, blood and tests that measure your endurance and capacity to hold your bladder. Your doctor may ask you to keep a diary so as to establish the type of incontinence you have via any discernable pattern.
National Association For Continence
PO Box 1019, Charleston, SC 29402-1019
800- BLADDER (252-3337)
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases
3 Information Way, Bethesda, MD 20892-3580
U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research
PO Box 8547, Silver Spring, MD 20907-8547