You’re out and about running errands and suddenly, it hits you. That undeniable urge takes over and you need the restroom ASAP. Yep, we’re talking about urinary incontinence in women. Why does this happen at the most random and inconvenient moments? Why is it so hard to control?
Luckily, this blog will answer all of your hard-pressed questions about what urinary continence in women is, why it happens, and what you can do about it!
First, we will discuss how the urinary tract works. Let’s get started.
How Does the Urinary Tract Work?
In order to understand urinary incontinence, we must first understand how the urinary system operates.
The kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra make up your urinary system, and there are a few jobs that these organs fulfill.
Your kidneys filter waste out of your blood, and then sends the product (urine) through the ureter tubes that are connected to the bladder.
Importance of Your Bladder
Think of the bladder as your storage tank and when it becomes full, the brain sends the message that it is time to urinate. When the urinary sphincter opens up, urine then exits the bladder flowing out from the urethra.
Sounds like a pretty tight system in place, right? It is when it is functioning smoothly, and you have plenty of time to make it to the bathroom.
But, there are a few physiological factors that can impact this seamless process and as a result can cause dysregulation of the bladder. This leads to urinary incontinence in women.
What Exactly is Urinary Incontinence?
Simply put, urinary incontinence is the sudden urge to urinate, often resulting in the loss of control of bladder and urethral functions. This can really impact livelihood and the activities that you choose to do day-to-day.
There are several different types of incontinence with different causes and triggers associated. Knowing the incontinence type you are struggling with can significantly help direct the treatment plan you decide to use!
What Are the Various Types of Incontinence?
Here are 4 main types of incontinence that women often experience:
- Urge incontinence: This is characterized by an intense urge to urinate immediately and is usually correlated to an overactive bladder (OAB).
- Stress incontinence: Leakage during various activities is common with stress incontinence, as there is lack of support for pelvic organs since the muscles have weakened.
- Overflow incontinence: The bladder is not fully emptying each time you urinate so rather than a gushing overflow, small amounts of urine drip out over time. This type is most common in people with more chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis(MS) and diabetes.
- Mixed incontinence: A number of factors could be impacting your urinary system, therefore allowing leakage. You could be dealing with an overactive bladder and stress incontinence simultaneously.
To help determine what could be causing your incontinence issues, it is important to identify when you are having these urinary incontinence episodes in order to link the triggers that are contributing to the health issue. Keep reading to learn when these triggers occur.
When Does Urinary Incontinence in Women Occur?
While the onset of incontinence can occur for a plethora of different reasons, causes of urinary incontinence are often linked to:
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Multiple sclerosis
Furthermore, symptoms of incontinence are commonly experienced during:
It is important to note that urinary incontinence can either be acute or chronic, depending on the root cause! Your lifestyle can play a big role in curing and/or managing urinary incontinence.
How Does Urinary Incontinence Affect Women?
While urinary incontinence impacts many people, it most commonly affects women during both pregnancy and menopause.
Urinary incontinence in women can occur during pregnancy, as the baby presses on the pelvic floor and affects the urinary tract. This typically improves a few months after childbirth, as the pelvic muscles have been able to strengthen.
During menopause, estrogen production tends to decrease, and the body undergoes transition which can affect bladder control.
Just remember that you are not alone, and that urinary incontinence is both common and treatable in women!
What are Some Good Treatments for Urinary Incontinence?
Good news: there is gleaming hope! A few different methods have proven themselves highly effective at treating urinary incontinence in women!
- The O-shot: This method is much preferred, as it is a 20 minute painless, non-surgical procedure that includes an injection of your own blood into the upper vaginal wall.
- Lifestyle changes: Don’t underestimate the power of changing your nutrition and exercise routines. Limit caffeine/alcohol, manage stress, and practice daily kegel exercises to improve the strength of your pelvic floor.
- Vaginal Inserts: These over-the-counter devices can compress the urethra and help reduce your risk of stress incontinence!
In some cases, referral to a Urologist may be indicated. Now that you know your options, it is important to find a doctor that you trust.
When Should I Talk to a Doctor about Urinary Incontinence?
If you are experiencing disturbances in your daily activities and missing out on the things you love, it’s time to talk to an expert.
At Whole Health JC, we provide a broad range of options to treat urinary incontinence in women, and Dr. Jen can guide you every step of the way! Our mission is to empower you with the tools to heal yourself.
Book a free consultation today!