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February 02, 2022 | Dr.Amna Zubair

Urinary Incontinence in Adults

Have you ever suffered from an episode of bladder leaks as an adult but kept it hidden because it may be embarrassing? You don’t have to be. Urinary incontinence or bladder leaks are frequent among adults and often result from multiple underlying causes. 

Many adults fail to discuss this matter with their close ones or healthcare specialists due to the risk of being socially embarrassed. It is important to understand that urinary incontinence can be managed with proper counseling and professional help.  

What Causes Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence can occur in men and women due to several different causes. These causes may include:

Weakened muscles: The sphincter muscles that control the exit of urine from your bladder can get weakened over time. This may happen in females during or after pregnancy. Men can also experience this condition after the removal of the prostate gland. Weakened pelvic muscles can also be a contributing factor.

Blockage: External blockage of the urinary tract can also cause disturbance in emptying your bladder. In men, it often happens due to benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). 

Stress: This refers to external stress in which your abdomen contracts or spasms during laughing, coughing, sneezing, etc. Pregnant women often experience this because of extra pressure on their abdominal walls and bladder due to fetal growth. 

Overactive bladder: This is most often observed in children, leading to frequent bedwetting. But it has been noticed in adults too due to overactive muscles of the urinary bladder. 

Medical conditions: Patients with brain diseases such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, etc., often lose voluntary control over their bladder, which causes urinary incontinence. This can also result due to infections, diabetes, BPH, etc. 

Functional incontinence: Difficulty in going to the toilet due to functional impairment or disability is another cause. For example, if you have a fractured leg, you may not be able to empty your bladder on your own upon urge. 

Urinary incontinence can also occur in some cases due to excessive caffeine or alcohol intake. These substances stimulate your bladder, and an over-dosage can result in bladder leaks. Certain medications such as diuretics may also cause temporary incontinence. It is necessary to consult your doctor in this case so the dosage of medication can be adjusted. 

When to See a Doctor?

If you have suffered from multiple episodes of urinary incontinence, you must talk to your healthcare provider about this matter without hesitation. Your doctor may ask questions about your symptoms' onset, recurrence, and severity. They may also require your history to identify the possible causes for this condition. If an underlying medical condition is suspected, lab tests may be required, such as complete blood count (CBC), erythrocyte sedimentation rate test (ESR), urinalysis test, renal function tests, urine culture, etc.

Can Urinary Incontinence Be Treated?

Many people believe that urinary incontinence occurs as a natural part of aging and does not require consultation with a doctor. Aging-related urinary incontinence can also be managed, and the number of such episodes may be lessened with proper guidance from a doctor. Other causes of urinary incontinence (as mentioned above) can be managed by addressing the underlying cause. 

Bladder training is a successful method to control the activity of your urinary bladder. Your doctor determines a schedule that allows you to urinate at particular times and suppress at other times. Techniques to control the urge to empty your bladder are also guided. 

Pelvic muscle exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, effectively reduce urinary incontinence episodes. Your doctor will guide you on how to perform these exercises, which include the contraction and relaxation of your pelvic muscles. It may require biofeedback or electrical stimulation at the beginning for better results.

Control of fluid intake is also suggested, especially caffeinated drinks and alcohol. Intake of caffeinated products and alcoholic beverages should be limited as much as possible because high intake can trigger your urinary bladder and weaken your bladder muscles. 

Urinary incontinence due to underlying medical conditions such as BPH, diabetes, prostatitis, etc., needs treatment for the primary cause. Also, patients with mental or functional disabilities may require extra assistance from a family member or home care nurse whenever they feel the urge to empty their urinary bladder. 

Visit cura4u right now to obtain further details and get yourself and your loved ones registered for an optimal healthcare experience!

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Dr.Amna Zubair

Dr.Amna Zubair is a general dentist (BDS, RDS) and medical content writer. She has also gained a diploma in Modern Applied Pscychology (MAP). She is a healthcare enthusiast and likes writing on topics from multiple fields of medicine, including dentistry, psychology, and general health.