Understanding Urinary Incontinence

Understanding Urinary Incontinence

Understanding urinary incontinence (UI) can help you deal with a bladder control problem that may be embarrassing or even disruptive.

UI can affect your emotional, social, and physical life. It can also increase your risk for infections, skin problems and other health issues.

Often, UI is caused by an underlying medical condition or medication. For example, if you have diabetes, certain medications can make your symptoms worse.

Understanding Your Bladder

Understanding Your Bladder

Your bladder is a small, round, tube-like organ that filters, stores and removes urine from your body. It does this by working with the kidneys, ureters and urethra (the tubes that carry urine out of your body).

Once your bladder gets full, your brain sends a signal to urinate. When this happens, the muscles in your bladder contract. This opens the sphincter, which allows urine to flow out through the urethra.

Some people have problems with their bladders, like urinary retention or nocturia. This can happen if you have an enlarged prostate gland, tumors, diabetes or certain medicines.

The best way to fix these types of problems is by strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, drinking enough water and changing some of your habits. Your healthcare provider can help you figure out what’s causing your incontinence and make sure it gets better.

Stress incontinence: This type of incontinence is caused by weak muscles that control your bladder. These can be weakened from coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting something heavy.

Your healthcare provider can do a physical exam to see how your bladder is functioning and make sure there are no other causes for your incontinence. They might also ask you about your medical history and medications. They might also do a urinary tract infection test, which can reveal any infections that might be causing your incontinence.


Understanding Your Pelvic Floor

Understanding your pelvic floor can help you address urinary incontinence, including stress and urge incontinence. It also can help you avoid developing pelvic floor disorders that can be painful, uncomfortable and embarrassing.

Pelvic floor muscles play a big role in keeping your bladder, urethra, vagina, uterus and bowel (large intestine) safe from injury and infection. They work like a hammock to support your body’s internal organs.

If you’re having trouble holding in your urine, or have a leaky bladder, your pelvic floor muscles are weak. This can happen as a result of many things, including injury, pregnancy, surgery and hormone changes during menopause.

To find out if your pelvic floor is strong enough, try the Kegel exercise. Simply insert a clean finger into your vagina and squeeze your pelvic floor muscles.

A physiotherapist who specializes in women’s health can help you determine the strength and weakness of your pelvic floor and suggest exercises to strengthen them. Some of these exercises can also be done at home.

Other things you can do to prevent or relieve urinary incontinence include avoiding high-impact sports, exercising regularly and drinking enough water. Some of these are simple lifestyle changes that you can do at home without needing to see a doctor or physiotherapist.

Understanding Your Urinary Tract

The urinary tract is a system that filters wastes and extra fluid from the blood and removes them from your body. It includes the kidneys, ureters and bladder.

The kidneys produce urine that fills the bladder, which sits in the pelvis between your hip bones. The bladder holds about 1.5 to 2 cups of urine.

As your bladder fills, a muscle called a sphincter closes the urethra to keep the urine in the bladder. When the bladder is full, a nerve tells your brain that you should find a toilet to urinate.

If the bladder can't hold enough urine, you might need to go to the bathroom more often than usual or have accidents while at work or school. These changes can be a sign of an underlying condition like diabetes or a UTI.

A health care professional can help you understand what's happening to your bladder, urethra and pelvic floor and recommend treatments to keep them working properly. Treatments can include medicines, surgery and certain types of exercise. Doctors also recommend using reusable incontinence underwear.

A healthy diet can also help the urinary tract function more effectively. Try to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Limit foods that are high in sugar, salt and caffeine. Avoid smoking and alcohol, which can irritate the bladder.