Urinary Incontinence & Overactive Bladder (OAB)

By Refadoc, Posted on : Wednesday, 30 September 2015 - 7:14 am IST

Urinary Incontinence & Overactive Bladder (OAB) - Overview

Urinary Incontinence is an embarrassing condition in which a person loses the control of the bladder. The severity of the condition tends to vary from one person to the other. In some cases, the condition leads to the occasional leaking of the urine during coughing or sneezing or in other cases; it leads to a strong urge of urination which is so strong that the person cannot get to the toilet in time.

The daily activities of a person can be hampered due to urinary incontinence. With the simple changes in the lifestyle or with a proper medical treatment, the discomfort can be easily taken care of, and maintained.

Causes of Urinary Incontinence

Urinary Incontinence is not a disease, it is a symptom. This points out to the underlying problems which a person may be suffering from.

Temporary Urinary Incontinence:

With the consumption of certain drinks, medications and foods which can act as diuretics, the urinary bladder tends to be stimulated. Thus leading to the increase in the volume of the urine. These factors include:

  •   Alcohol
  •   Coffee or caffeine rich products
  •   Carbonated drinks or colas
  •   Corn syrups
  •   Fruits
  •   Heart and blood pressure medications

Urinary Tract Infection also tends to irritate the bladder causing a great urge for urination. The rectum, which is located near to the bladder, also shares the same set of nerves as the bladder. Therefore, in case a person is suffering from constipation, it leads to the over activity of the nerves, leading to an increased urinary frequency.

Persistent Urinary Incontinence:

The persistent Urinary Incontinence is caused due to the underlying physical problems such as:

  • Pregnancy: The hormonal changes and the increased weight on the uterus can lead to incontinence.
  • Childbirth: Vaginal delivery leads to the weakening of the muscles which causes the damage to the nerves and the supportive tissue around the bladder. These protrusions can lead to urinary incontinence.
  • Menopause: With the onset of menopause, the production of estrogens gets reduced and this deterioration of the tissues leads to the incontinence.
  • Prostate Cancer: The incontinence can be associated with the untreated prostate cancer.
  • Enlargement of the prostate: In older men, the chances of incontinence are increased due to the enlargement of the prostate gland. This condition is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Signs and Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence

In some people, minor leak of urine can be experienced while suffering from urinary incontinence.

Major types of urinary incontinence are as follows:

  • Stress Incontinence: This leads to the exertion of the pressure on the bladder accompanied with sneezing, coughing or laughing
  • Urge Incontinence: In this, a person experiences a sudden urge to urinate which is followed by an involuntary loss of urine. This may be caused due to a minor condition such as an infection or even a more severe one like, diabetes.
  • Overflow Incontinence: In this, a person experiences a constant dribbling of the urine as the bladder is not able to empty itself in one go.
  • Functional Incontinence: This is a physical or mental impairment which makes it impossible for a person to make it to the toilet in time.
  • Mixed Incontinence: in this, a person experiences more than one type of urinary incontinence.

It is recommended to see a doctor if this condition is affecting your quality of life.

Urinary Incontinence could be the signs of an underlying condition.

Tests and Diagnosis of Urinary Incontinence

Once the reason for Urinary Incontinence has been determined, it becomes very simple to look out for the diagnosis and treatment of the same.

The following tests are recommended:

  • Urinalysis: In this, a sample of the urine is checked for signs of infection, blood or any other abnormality.
  • Maintaining a diary: in this, a diary is maintained to note down how much urine has been excreted and how many times a day.
  • Urodynamic Testing: In this a catheter is inserted into the urethra in order to fill the bladder with water. Meanwhile, the pressure monitor goes out to monitor the pressure in the bladder. With this test, the bladder strength and urinary sphincter health can be easily measured.
  • Cystoscopy: A thin tube is inserted into the urethra. The doctor can, with this tube check the bladder for any abnormalities.
  • Pelvic Ultrasound: This is done to check the urinary tract and genitals for any abnormalities.

Treatment and Drugs for Urinary Incontinence

The treatment options for Urinary Incontinence depend greatly on the underlying cause of the problem.

Some of the most plausible treatment options are as follows:

  • Behavioural Techniques: These are administered to delay the urge of the urination. With the use of the bladder training and double voiding, a person can learn to empty the complete bladder once and for all, in order to avoid the incontinence. Also, with the fluid and diet management, a person can regain the control of the bladder. It is recommended to cut down on the consumption of the alcohol, caffeine as well as acidic food.
  • Pelvic Floor Muscle Activities: These exercises are recommended in order to strengthen the muscles as well as to control the urination. Also known as Kegel exercises, these help to deal with stress incontinence and control incontinence.
  • Medications: Medications such as Anticholinergics and Mirabegron are used to deal with incontinence effectively.
  • Pads and Catheters: These are easily worn as a part of the everyday clothing and can be used by people who are dealing with urinary incontinence. A catheter is inserted into the urethra of the person in order to drain the bladder completely.
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