Here is some information and advice about managing urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence is the unintentional passing of urine. It is a common problem and is thought to affect millions of people worldwide. It’s not clear exactly how many people are affected, but it’s estimated that between 3 and 6 million people in the UK may have some degree of urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence affects both men and women, but it tends to be more common in women.
Signs and symptoms
The symptoms of urinary incontinence depend on the kind you have. There are several types of urinary incontinence, but the most common are:
- stress incontinence – this is when urine leaks out at times when your bladder is under pressure, for example when you laugh or cough
- urge incontinence – this is when urine leaks as you feel a sudden, intense urge to pass urine, or soon afterwards
It is also possible to have a mixture of both stress and urge urinary incontinence.
What causes urinary incontinence?
The causes of urinary incontinence depend on the type of incontinence. Stress incontinence is usually the result of the weakening or damaging of the muscles used to prevent urination, such as the pelvic floor muscles and the urethral sphincter. Urge incontinence is usually the result of overactivity of the detrusor muscles, which control the bladder. Certain things can increase the chances of urinary incontinence, including:
- increasing age – although incontinence is not an inevitable part of ageing
- pregnancy and vaginal birth
- a family history of incontinence
Seeking medical advice
You may feel embarrassed talking to someone about your symptoms, but it’s a good idea to see your doctor if you have any type of urinary incontinence as this can be the first step towards finding a way to effectively manage the problem. Urinary incontinence can usually be diagnosed after a consultation with your GP, who will ask about your symptoms and may carry out a pelvic examination (in women) or rectal examination (in men). Your doctor may also advise you to keep a diary in which you make a note of how much fluid you drink and how often you have to urinate.
How urinary incontinence is treated
Initially, your doctor may suggest some simple measures to see if they help improve your symptoms.
These may include:
- lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and cutting down on caffeine and alcohol
- pelvic floor exercises (exercising your pelvic floor muscles by squeezing them) taught by a specialist
- bladder training (where you learn ways to help you can wait longer between needing to urinate and passing urine) guided by a specialist
You may also benefit from the use of incontinence products, such as absorbent pads and hand-held urinals (urine collection bottles). If you are still unable to manage your symptoms, medication may be recommended. Surgery may also be considered, and the specific procedures suitable for you will depend on the type of incontinence you have.
Surgical treatments for stress incontinence, such as tape or sling procedures, are used to reduce pressure on the bladder, or strengthen the muscles that control urination.
Operations to treat urge incontinence include enlarging the bladder or implanting a device that stimulates the nerve that controls the detrusor muscles.
Preventing urinary incontinence
It is not always possible to prevent urinary incontinence, but there are some steps you can take that may help reduce the chance of it developing, such as:
- controlling your weight
- keeping fit – in particular, ensuring that your pelvic floor muscles are strong
- avoiding or cutting down on alcohol
Spring Chicken has found a fantastic solution to helping manage incontinence – a brand of incontinence underwear that works brilliantly and looks gorgeous.
Confitex is a patented world first underwear technology, which is not only fashionable but machine washable, absorbent, breathable and waterproof without the need of a bulky pad. Its unique hi-tech fabric ensures you stay dry and comfortable and uses your body’s heat to keep you dry and wicks away fluid, leaving you able to continue your day.
It’s perfectly discreet and gives confidence to anyone at risk of getting caught short with bladder control issues.
Just wash it and reuse as you would normal underwear.
To see all the Confitex styles for men & women, click here.
Any information of a medical nature on this website is given to provide a general understanding of a medical condition or conditions.
No patient/doctor relationship is to be inferred and you should seek medical advice from a qualified practitioner.
Nothing on this site should be used as a substitute for competent advice from a qualified medical practitioner.