Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is probably the most commonly treated urinary condition. This
condition affects both men and women, but there is a higher incident rate among women,
and is often a results of an underlying medical condition.

The two primary types of incontinence are stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and urge
incontinence, also known as overactive bladder (OAB).

SUI occurs when there is pressure placed on the bladder by coughing, laughing, sneezing
or other movements. Physical changes during pregnancy, childbirth and menopause are
common events that cause stress incontinence.

OAB is when a sudden urge to urinate occurs and you are unable to get to the bathroom
in time. The most common cause of OAB is contractions of the bladder that seem to
occur involuntarily. There are many factors that may contribute to OAB such as aging, a
diet high in coffee, tea, colas and chocolate or nerve damage. Other medical conditions
that may damage or affect the nerves of the bladder include Multiple sclerosis,
Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, brain tumors and injury or spinal cord
injuries.

Other types of incontinence include functional incontinence, which is untimely urination
due to physical disability, external obstacles or problems in communication or thought
processed that may keep a person from reaching the bathroom in time and overflow
incontinence which occurs when the bladder doesn’t empty properly or the amount of
urine is more than the bladder can hold.

Most people have a predominant type of incontinence, but can have a combination of
symptoms which is referred to as mixed incontinence. You should discuss all your
urinary symptoms with your doctor in order to determine what type of incontinence you
are experiencing. A physical exam may be completed and you may be asked to keep a
bladder diary. In some cases further tests are indicated and the doctor may want you to
come back for urodynamics testing in order to better diagnosis how your bladder reacts
under different conditions.

There are many treatments available that provide relief of incontinence symptoms. They
include Kegel exercises, a variety of oral medications, Interstim therapy, and sometimes
surgery.