The vast majority of women who experience urinary incontinence (urine leakage) are not in nursing homes as might be believed. The typical person who suffers from incontinence is a 48-year-old woman who leaks when she coughs. Only one out of every four women who suffers from incontinence seeks help.
When urine is produced in the kidneys, it travels through two ureters to the bladder and is stored there. Muscle fibers in the bladder wall relax as urine collects. The sphincter contracts to contain the urine. When the bladder contracts, the sphincter relaxes and allows urine to flow into the urethra. There are three different types of incontinence. Stress incontinence, overflow incontinence and urge incontinence.
- leakage of urine when coughing, sneezing or laughing
- increased frequency of bathroom visits to avoid accidents
- many woman avoid exercise for fear leaks will occur
- leaks occur when getting up from bed in the morning
- leaks might occur when getting up from a chair
- frequent nighttime urination
- difficulty urinating (urination is a weak dribbling stream with no force)
- dribbling throughout the day
- inability to urinate when the urge is felt
- wetting oneself if getting to the bathroom immediately is not possible frequent urination during the night
- bathroom visits once every two hours or more
- drinking coffee, soda or alcohol seems to cause urination out of proportion to what was drunk
WHAT YOU CAN DO
See your doctor.
There are a number of factors that could be causing your incontinence. Medication and surgery are possible treatment options.
Muscles that are used to stop the flow of urine can be strengthened to help stop the incontinence. Kegel exercises, for instance, involve tightening the vaginal muscles and holding them tight and then relaxing them.
Watch your weight.
Being overweight can contribute to incontinence.
Drink plenty of water.
Constipation can cause many bladder-control problems. Eat foods high in fiber and carbohydrates.
Limit your fluids after 8:00 p.m.
Caffeine is a diuretic and will cause you to urinate more.