Incontinence is the loss of bladder control and can involve leakage of urine, wind or faeces.
Urinary incontinence is a very distressing condition that women generally develop later in life though it can occur at any age. Giving birth by natural labour can increase the chances of developing urinary incontinence. There are several types of urinary incontinence – stress urinary incontinence, urge urinary incontinence or overactive bladder and mixed urinary incontinence.
Different Types of Urinary Incontinence
- Stress urinary incontinence occurs due to poor closure of the bladder or leaking urine when coughing or laughing. It may require surgery such as a sling procedure. Though non-invasive treatment is possible and is usually quite effective for treating stress urinary incontinence.
- Urge incontinence takes place due to an overactive bladder or leaking urine accidentally when experiencing a strong urge to pass urine, this condition is usually treated with tablets.
- Overflow incontinence ensues due to poor bladder contraction or blockage of the urethra
- Functional incontinence happens when medications or health problems make it difficult to reach the bathroom
Stress urinary incontinence can be described as a leakage of urine when you run, cough, sneeze or jump. It is important to establish that it is not a urinary infection (UTI or bladder infection) that is the cause of stress urinary incontinence especially if you started leaking urine recently. A simple urine test can diagnose this urinary infection. The other causes of stress urinary incontinence include:
- Weight gain and being overweight.
- Chronic cough (having the flu and coughing will almost certainly make stress urinary incontinence worse, some medications prescribed for high blood pressure cause cough and may lead to stress urinary incontinence.
- Ageing can cause stress urinary incontinence because the vaginal wall supporting the urethra loses collagen and becomes weaker, the low oestrogen level in menopause leads to vaginal dryness and it can also result in urinary incontinence.
- Pregnancy and childbirth can also lead to stress urinary incontinence because of the relaxing effect of the progesterone hormone on the vaginal wall that ultimately weakens the vaginal wall.
- The treatment of stress urinary incontinence includes a pelvic floor exercise (or Kegel exercise). Patients who take up pilates also find improvement in stress urinary incontinence.
- A new, revolutionary and non-invasive treatment is now available with Dr Novikova. The pelvic floor trainer, Emsella Chair uses a high-intensity electromagnetic field to activate motor neurons located in the pelvic floor. A single 28-minute session results in 11,200 pelvic floor muscle contractions which have the effect of performing the same number of Kegel exercises! To find out more about the Emsella click here.
- The surgical method available to patients who require a more invasive treatment is the sling procedure (performed under anaesthesia) which treats urinary incontinence. You can read about the sling procedure here
- Vaginal laser treatment is a non-surgical procedure performed in the doctor’s office without any anaesthesia that works very well for mild to moderate stress urinary incontinence. Laser is also very effective in the treatment of vaginal dryness (called atrophic vaginitis) that women develop in menopause. More information about the vaginal laser procedure can be found here.
Urge urinary incontinence or overactive bladder is a problem when women have an urge to pass urine and leak urine before getting to the toilet or have to pass urine very frequently even at night. This condition is treated with tablets.
If you have a combination of stress and urge urinary incontinence the doctor will assess your situation and will suggest treatment options for you. If urinary incontinence affects your daily activities, don’t hesitate to come in and see us.