Urinary Incontinence – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Drugs
Definition of Urinary Incontinence: Urinary Incontinence is the problem of unintentional passing of urine due to lack of bladder control. Urinary Incontinence can result in a range of exasperating situations like occasional leaking of urine at the time of coughing and sneezing or having a sudden urge to urinate that does not even let the patient get to a toilet. Symptoms that can be seen in a patient depend largely on the severity of the disease.
Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence: Problem in controlling urination can make people suffer from minor, occasional leaks to wetting of clothes. There can be several symptoms of urinary incontinence, the major ones among which have been listed here,
- Stress Incontinence: This problem is a result of stress or pressure on the sphincter muscles of the bladder due to sneezing, coughing, laughing, exercising, etc. Among women, the problem can seem to be a very common one due to menopause, pregnancy, and childbirth. Men suffer from this problem after the removal of the prostate gland as a part of some surgery.
- Urge Incontinence: The most evident symptom of this problem is sudden, but the intense urge to urinate and involuntary loss of urine followed by it. Patients with Urge Incontinence or Overactive Bladder need to urinate pretty often, sometimes throughout the night. Damage or injury to the nervous system due to Multiple Sclerosis is one of the major causes behind this medical condition of a patient.
- Overflow Incontinence: Overflow Incontinence usually results in frequent dribbles of urine which happen due to problems in emptying the bladder properly. Patients with this medical condition manage to produce a weak stream of urine. Such sort of incontinence is quite common among people with a damaged bladder, damaged nerve due to diabetes, blocked urethra, spinal cord injury, and the worst cases of Multiple Sclerosis.
- Mixed Incontinence: Symptoms of more than one type of Urinary Incontinence can be visible in patients with Multiple Sclerosis. For example, the same patient might need to suffer from a combination of multiple problems like Urge Incontinence, Stress Incontinence, etc, which means, the person is suffering from Mixed Incontinence.
- Functional Incontinence: Old adults, especially the infirm and ailing patients admitted in nursing homes suffer from Incontinence, mainly due to losing mental or physical balance by a considerable amount and failing to make it to the toilet on time. This type of Incontinence is called Functional Incontinence.
- Total Incontinence: Incontinence can be so severe at times that the patient might need to suffer from problems like leaking of urine throughout the day or uncontrollable leaking of a huge volume of urine.
It is indeed very difficult to discuss the problems caused by Urinary Incontinence with even friends or relatives. But, it is necessary to see a doctor when, Incontinence starts affecting the life of a patient, at home and outside. Seeking medical help becomes very important when incontinence starts becoming a frequent problem and/ or stretches of blood start being visible in the urine.
Causes of Urinary Incontinence: There can be several reasons for Incontinence that can be avoided or treated easily. The consumption of several food elements, beverages, and medicines can also be responsible for temporary Urinary Incontinence. So, relief from the problem is possible through a few changes in your habit. Consumption of caffeine, alcohol, corn syrup, carbonated drinks, sugar, citrus fruits, and tomatoes can cause temporary Incontinence that can be avoided. Overhydration, Constipation, Infection in the Urinary tract, Medication for blood pressure, Heart Diseases, Muscle Relaxation can also cause temporary Urinary Incontinence.
Persistent Urinary Incontinence is usually caused due to different physical changes caused by aging, pregnancy or childbirth, painful bladder syndrome. Enlarged prostate, Prostate cancer, Prostatitis, Hysterectomy, stone in the bladder, Bladder cancer, or different other neurological disorders.
Diagnosis of Urinary Incontinence: Certain common tests can detect Urinary Incontinence in a patient.
- Bladder Diary: This is a record consisting of the amount of liquid consumed by the patient, the amount of urine produced, the intensity of the urge to urinate, and the number of Incontinence episodes. A bladder diary is a record maintained by the patient, according to the direction of the doctor.
- Urinalysis: A sample of the patient’s urine is sent to the laboratory for checking whether there is any trace of blood, a sign of abnormality, or any infection.
- Blood Test: This test is done to check whether the patient’s blood contains any chemical or any other substance responsible for causing Incontinence.
Sometimes, specialized tests are required for additional testing. A list of such tests includes PVR test or Post void residual measurement, Pelvic Ultrasound, Cystogram, Stress test, Cystoscopy, etc.
Treatment for Urinary Incontinence: Treatment for the disease depends largely on the causes leading to the disease and its severity. The doctors recommend the right treatment or the combination of several treatments that can be best suited to the patient’s condition. Sometimes, different physical therapies and behavioral techniques are enough to deal with the patient’s condition. Then, the patient’s condition needs further medication and other therapies, doctors recommend drugs that are administered in conjunction with different behavioral techniques. Medicines, mostly used in the treatment of Urinary Incontinence include Topical estrogen, Anticholinergic, Imipramine, Duloxetine, etc.
There are several medical devices to check the problems caused due to Urinary Incontinence, mainly among women. Such medical devices can range from Urethral Insert to Pessary. Moreover, different types of interventional therapies can also help tackle the problem of Urinary Incontinence. Such therapies usually require Botulism toxin type A, Bulking Material injections, Nerve Stimulators, etc. If all types of medications, therapies, and medical devices fail to help the patient, surgery remains the only option that can help the patient to save himself/ herself from the embarrassment caused by Urinary Incontinence. Doctors go for Sling procedures, Bladder neck suspension, Artificial urinary sphincter to reduce the severity of incontinence.