Urinary incontinence is involuntary and uncontrollable leakage of urine. This is when the bladder empties completely or partially.
The urinary system and its functioning
A full understanding of urinary incontinence is possible when the mechanism of the urinary system is carefully traced. Urine is a fluid produced in the kidneys. It contains products of metabolism, which are unnecessary for the organism or may be dangerous for it. It is therefore excreted from the body. From the kidneys it flows into the bladder, an organ made of muscles. The bladder fills up gradually, and when it is full it sends a signal to empty it. The brain in turn sends a signal to the pelvic floor muscles, which begin to relax as the bladder muscles contract.
The problem of urinary incontinence
Urination is a physiological activity that can be consciously controlled. Sometimes, however, as a result of many different factors, the urinary system does not function properly. When hearing about the problem of incontinence, many people identify it only with elderly people. This is a big mistake, because involuntary urinating happens to young people as well. It is true, however, that the older the body is, the more it is exposed to this type of ailment.
For many women, especially young ones, urinary incontinence is an extremely embarrassing and shameful issue. The vast majority do not want to admit this problem even to their doctor. However, untreated incontinence may lead to an infection of the urinary system, as well as to a significant worsening of the ailment.
Urinary incontinence and its breakdown
There are many causes of urinary incontinence. Based on its cause and nature, the condition can be divided into several types.
Stress urinary incontinence
One of the most common types is stress urinary incontinence. It is caused by weak pelvic floor muscles. The urge to urinate occurs during physical exertion. However, it does not have to be large – sometimes it occurs when sneezing, coughing or laughing.
Urge incontinence is when the urge to urinate is uncontrollable. This is due to overactivity of the bladder muscles, which contract suddenly and far too early. This problem is common with multiple sclerosis and can also occur, for example, during sexual intercourse.
This type of incontinence is a combination of the two mentioned above. Urge incontinence can occur both during physical exertion and can also be related to excessive muscle activity.
Urinary incontinence can also have a neurological basis, be related to prostatic hyperplasia in men or occur after urination.
Causes of urinary incontinence
One of the most common causes of urinary incontinence is bacterial infections of the urinary system. It is connected with a frequent need to urinate, as well as pain occurring during this activity. Bacterial infections may also be accompanied by pain in the lower abdomen and even fever.
Urinary incontinence can be linked to hormonal changes that make the pelvic floor muscles flaccid. Low levels of oestrogen, the hormone responsible for the elasticity of these muscles, drop particularly during the menopause. Urinary problems can occur after childbirth. During strenuous activity, the muscles can become stretched or damaged.
People affected by this problem should see a specialist immediately. He will assess the severity of the problem and order the appropriate tests. After the diagnosis is made, he or she will suggest a course of treatment and allow you to say goodbye to the problem.