The first time it happened you were sure it was just a fluke. When it happened again with a sudden sneeze, you began to worry a bit. Then leakage became more of a regular problem. Now you are wondering, how is urinary incontinence diagnosed and treated?
What Is Incontinence
The loss of bladder control is known as incontinence, and women are more at risk to develop urinary incontinence, although men can develop it as well.
It can happen when the bladder muscles contract which forces urine out of the body, or it can be due to the sphincter muscles in the urethra becoming weaker.
What Causes Incontinence?
One common cause is when the muscles in your pelvic area become weak. This can happen after pregnancy, during menopause, or as you get older.
Being overweight can also put extra pressure on your bladder, leading to leaks when you cough, laugh, or exercise.
Some medical conditions like urinary tract infections, diabetes, or problems with your nerves can mess up your urinary system and cause incontinence. Certain medications, such as those for high blood pressure, can also make you more likely to have accidents.
Stress, anxiety, or problems with memory and thinking can also play a role.
There are several different types of urinary incontinence:
This is when you have a sudden and uncontrollable urge to pee. Sometimes you can’t make it to the bathroom in time, also known as overactive bladder (OAB).
This type of incontinence happens when someone experiences leakage when they sneeze, laugh, or cough.
This is a mixture of stress and urge incontinence. You have the sudden and uncontrollable urge to urinate, as well as the leakage when sneezing, laughing, or coughing.
When someone has a disability and cannot make it to the bathroom in time but otherwise has no other bladder issues, this is called functional incontinence.
Sometimes a person doesn’t sense that their bladder is empty, or they cannot completely empty their bladder.
How Cleveland Men’s Health Can Diagnose Urine Incontinence
Our urinary incontinence specialists in Cleveland can diagnose your condition by performing a series of tests. They will begin by asking about your urinary habits and if there have been any changes.
Next they will do a thorough physical examination, take urine tests, a blood test, and measure kidney function. A PVR measurement assesses how much urine is left in the bladder after urinating. They may do a pelvic ultrasound, a stress test, or an X-ray of the bladder, plus others.
Treatments Available For Urinary Incontinence
Medications can stabilize muscle contractions that cause overactive bladder (urge incontinence). Other medications relax the muscles to allow the bladder to empty the bladder completely. Hormone replacement therapy is used to replace estrogen. Dr. Thirumavalavan will start with low doses and increase as needed.
Lifestyle changes are helpful as well, like some of the following:
- Exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles
- Emptying bladder at pre-scheduled times
- Peeing before physical activity
- Avoiding caffeine before activities or at bedtime
- Using pads to capture leakage
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
If necessary, there are multiple procedures and surgeries to treat incontinence if the other treatments are not sufficient. Cleveland Men’s Health will provide options, and you can decide which might be best for you.
Don’t be embarrassed to discuss urinary incontinence with a doctor.
Contact our urology clinic in Cleveland if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of urinary incontinence.