By: Dr. Gary Bellman on October 1, 2013
Urinary Incontinence is divided into three different categories, or types. In our office, we commonly see patients experiencing a mix of the types or all three.
Stress Incontinence- This type of incontinence may occur when you participate in some types of physical activity– such as when you are exercising, coughing, sneezing, or laughing. The activity causes the sphincter muscle, which normally holds your urine in the bladder, to weaken and release urine.
Urge Incontinence- Urge incontinence occurs when you feel a sudden and strong urge, or need, to urinate. Almost as soon as the urge to urinate hits, you lose control of your bladder. Often, you do not have time between the urge and the loss of urine to make it to a bathroom.
Overflow Incontinence- This type occurs when you urinate but do not completely empty the bladder. Later, you may lose some urine. Overflow incontinence can also be called ‘dribbling’.
There are many causes of urinary incontinence; including physical damage, aging, cancer, infection, and a neurological disorder. Some of these conditions will only result in temporary urinary problems and are easily treated, while others are more serious and persistent.
A funny term coined by Urologists to help other physicians keep in mind the type and causes of incontinence and to help with proper diagnoses is ‘diapers’.
Some cases of incontinence are temporary. Often, these instances are caused by an external or lifestyle factor. Drinking alcohol, caffeinated beverages, or even water can cause a temporary loss of bladder control. Some medications such as blood pressure drugs, muscle relaxants, sedatives, and some heart medications can also lead to a short spell of incontinence.
Constipation can also increase the need to urinate because the compacted stool can make the nerves controlling your bladder to overreact. A urinary tract infection may also lead to instances of incontinence.
Aging- As you age, your bladder muscle becomes weaker and incontinence becomes more likely. Any issues with your blood vessels will make this situation worse. The healthier you are, the better your chances of avoiding incontinence as you age.
Damage- Any damage caused to your pelvic floor muscles can lead to incontinence, since these muscles support your bladder. In some instances, they can be damaged or weakened by surgery; usually during a procedure to remove the uterus or after childbirth.
Enlarged Prostate- In nearly all men, the prostate gland enlarges with age. It’s common for men to experience some incontinence as a result.
Cancer- Prostate cancer in men, or bladder cancer in men or women, can cause incontinence. In some cases, the cancer’s treatment will cause incontinence as a side effect. A tumor, whether malignant or benign, can also cause incontinence by blocking the usual flow of urine. Kidney or bladder stones can have the same effect.
Less Common Causes- Prostatitis, or the inflammation of the prostate, and interstitial cystitis (a chronic condition of the bladder that causes pain), can occasionally cause incontinence.
When to Seek a Urologist
A- Atrophic Vaginitis
P- Physiological, ex. Dementia
R- Restricted Mobility
S- Stool Impaction (constipation)
Any instance of incontinence is reason to seek a consultation by a specialist. It may be a symptom of a more serious condition that needs to be treated. Even if the underlying cause is not life threatening, incontinence can be cause disruption in your life, and discuss your treatment options with a leading Urologist can help alleviate your symptoms.
Don’t wait any longer to seek medical attention regarding any
urinary issues! Dr. Bellman
can be contacted through his offices at 818.703.9500