Incontinence in Women
Womens urinary incontinence is defined as the loss of bladder control.
There are five types of urinary incontinence.
- Stress Incontinence: Stress incontinence is defined as urine leakage when one exerts pressure on the bladder. It is commonly caused by coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising or lifting something.
- Urge Incontinence: Urge incontinence is defined as the intense urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine.
- Overflow Incontinence: Overflow incontinence is defined as frequent or constant dribbling of urine due to incomplete bladder emptying.
- Functional Incontinence: Functional incontinence is defined as a physical or mental impairment that keeps one from making it to the toilet in time.
- Mixed Incontinence: Mixed incontinence is defined as a combination of the above types of incontinence.
Causes of Womens Incontinence
Urinary incontinence in women may manifest as a temporary problem or a permanent condition. There are different causes for each type.
Causes of temporary urinary incontinence include:
- Carbonated drinks
- Artificial sweetener
- Spicy food
- Certain heart and blood pressure medications, sedatives and muscle relaxants
Risk Factors of Womens Incontinence
Risk factors for urinary incontinence include:
- Gender (Women are more likely to have stress incontinence than men due to pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause.)
- Increased age
- Family history of urinary incontinence
- History of diabetes
Permanent Incontinence Women
Causes of permanent urinary incontinence in women include:
- A hysterectomy
- Obstruction (A tumor or urinary stones in the urinary tract can block urine flow leading to overflow incontinence.)
- Neurological disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease
Diagnosing Urinary Incontinence
Your physician will first want to determine the type of incontinence you are experiencing. This will be done by performing a complete history and physical exam. Next, you will most likely undergo a urinalysis to check for infection. A post void residual measurement may also be taken to measure urine output. It is also possible that your physician will recommend you keep a bladder diary for several days to record your fluid intake and urination.
There are a number of treatment options for incontinence. The treatment option chosen by your physician will depend on the type and severity of the incontinence.