Chronic/Pain Conditions >> Urinary Incontinence
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In this video, Dr. Huntoon discusses if having symptoms is normal. The answer is NO.
Having Urinary Incontinence is not fun and seems to be depicted as a normal part of aging. This couldn't be farther from the truth.
When you are ready to solve this condition without all the medications and surgeries, Dr. Huntoon is here for you.
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Urinary incontinence is the accidental release of urine. It can happen when you cough, laugh, sneeze, or jog. Or you may have a sudden need to go to the bathroom but can't get there in time. Bladder control problems are very common, especially among older adults. They usually don't cause major health problems, but they can be embarrassing.
Incontinence can be a short-term problem caused by a urinary tract infection, a medicine, or constipation. It gets better when you treat the problem that is causing it. But this topic focuses on ongoing urinary incontinence.
There are two main kinds of urinary incontinence. Some women-especially older women-have both.
Stress incontinence occurs when you sneeze, cough, laugh, jog, or do other things that put pressure on your bladder. It is the most common type of bladder control problem in women.
Urge incontinence happens when you have a strong need to urinate but can't reach the toilet in time. This can happen even when your bladder is holding only a small amount of urine. Some women may have no warning before they accidentally leak urine. Other women may leak urine when they drink water or when they hear or touch running water. Overactive bladder is a kind of urge incontinence. But not everyone with overactive bladder leaks urine.
The main symptom is the accidental release of urine.
If you have stress incontinence, you may leak a small to medium amount of urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh, exercise, or do similar things.
If you have urge incontinence, you may feel a sudden urge to urinate and the need to urinate often. With this type of bladder control problem, you may leak a larger amount of urine that can soak your clothes or run down your legs.
If you have mixed incontinence, you may have symptoms of both problems.
Bladder control problems may be caused by:
Weak muscles in the lower urinary tract.
Problems or damage either in the urinary tract or in the nerves that control urination.
Stress incontinence can be caused by childbirth, weight gain, or other conditions that stretch the pelvic floor muscles. When these muscles can't support your bladder properly, the bladder drops down and pushes against the vagina. You can't tighten the muscles that close off the urethra. So urine may leak because of the extra pressure on the bladder when you cough, sneeze, laugh, exercise, or do other activities. Urge incontinence is caused by an overactive bladder muscle that pushes urine out of the bladder. It may be caused by irritation of the bladder, emotional stress, or brain conditions such as Parkinson's disease or stroke. Many times doctors don't know what causes it.
Stress incontinence is caused by conditions that stretch the pelvic floor muscles, such as:
When these muscles can't support your bladder well, the bladder drops down and pushes against the vagina. Then you can't tighten the muscles that usually close off the urethra. So urine may leak because of the extra pressure on the bladder when you cough, sneeze, laugh, exercise, or do other activities.
This is the most common type of urinary incontinence in women.
A chronic cough from smoking can make stress incontinence worse.
Urge incontinence is caused when the bladder muscle involuntarily contracts and pushes urine out of the bladder. Many times doctors don't know what causes this. But sometimes the cause is:
Irritation of the bladder.
Brain conditions such as Parkinson's disease or stroke.
Overactive bladder is a kind of urge incontinence. But not everyone with overactive bladder leaks urine. For more information, see the topic Overactive Bladder.
Other types of incontinence
Less common types of urinary incontinence have other causes. These types include:
Treatments are different for each person. They depend on the type of incontinence you have and how much it affects your life. After your doctor knows what has caused the incontinence, your treatment may include exercises, bladder training, medicines, a pessary, or a combination of these. Some women may need surgery.
There are also some things you can do at home. In many cases, these lifestyle changes can be enough to control incontinence.
Cut back on caffeine drinks, such as coffee and tea. Also cut back on fizzy drinks like soda pop. And don't drink more than one alcohol drink a day.
Eat foods high in fiber to help avoid constipation.
Don't smoke. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good. Stay at a healthy weight.
Try simple pelvic-floor exercises like Kegel exercises.
Go to the bathroom at several set times each day, and wear clothes that you can remove easily. Make your path to the bathroom as clear and quick as you can.
Keep track of your symptoms and any leaking of urine with a bladder diary. This can help you and your doctor find the best treatment for you.
If you have symptoms of urinary incontinence, don't be embarrassed to tell your doctor. Most people can be helped or cured.
Working with a Holistic Chiropractor who can help you address the underlying cause for your condition is the first and best way to treat this. Developing a well-rounded, multifaceted approach to address all the factors that contribute to your overactive bladder is warranted.
Acupuncture may help with overactive bladder. It has been shown to help some women as much as medicine.
If your symptoms really bother you or affect your quality of life, your doctor may suggest that you try medicine along with bladder training and exercises. Medicines are used most often to help control overactive bladder. These medicines do have some annoying side effects like dry mouth and constipation. Because of this, a lot of people don't like to take them. You may decide that bladder training and exercises control your overactive bladder enough. Medicines used to treat overactive bladder are the same for men and women.
If you have severe overactive bladder or severe urge incontinence that hasn't been controlled by exercises or medicine, you may be able to try other treatments. These include Botox injections or electrical stimulation. But these treatments aren't usually tried unless other treatments haven't worked.
How is urinary incontinence diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask about what and how much you drink. He or she will also ask how often and how much you urinate and leak. It may help to keep track of these things using a bladder diary for 3 or 4 days before you see your doctor.
Your doctor will examine you and may do some simple tests to look for the cause of your bladder control problem. If your doctor thinks it may be caused by more than one problem, you will likely have more tests.
Male Urinary Incontinence: 12 Questions to Ask Your Doctor
1. What’s causing my urinary incontinence?
2. Is male urinary incontinence related to getting older -- do all men eventually get it?
3. Is urinary incontinence in men a sign of prostate problems or another medical condition?
4. What medications would work best for my urinary incontinence?
5. What can I do to make medications work better -- for example, should I take them at a certain time of day; with food or without food?
6. How will I know if I need to change my urinary incontinence medication?
7. Are there any over-the-counter or alternative medicines that can help male urinary incontinence?
8. Can underwear or other urinary incontinence products help me manage leaks?
9. Are there exercises that can help my urinary incontinence?
10. Are there foods, drinks, or activities that make urinary incontinence worse?
11. Does stress make male urinary incontinence worse?
12. Do I need to see a urinary incontinence specialist?
When To Call a Doctor
Call your doctor if:
You have urinary incontinence that begins suddenly. This is called acute incontinence. It is often caused by urinary tract problems or medicines and can be easily corrected. The involuntary release of urine is enough of a problem that you need to wear an absorbent pad, or if incontinence interferes with your life in any way. Don't be embarrassed to discuss urinary incontinence with your doctor. Urinary incontinence is not an inevitable result of aging. Most women with incontinence can be helped or cured.
If you have urinary incontinence that develops slowly, you may be able to control the problem yourself. For more information, see Home Treatment. If home treatment is not effective, or if incontinence interferes with your lifestyle, ask your doctor about other treatments.
How can you prevent urinary incontinence?
Strengthening your pelvic muscles with Kegel exercises may lower your risk for incontinence.
If you smoke, try to quit. Quitting may make you cough less, which may help with incontinence.
If you have urinary incontinence, you can take some steps on your own that may stop or reduce the problem.
Set a schedule of urinating every 2 to 4 hours, regardless of whether you feel the need. Talk with your doctor about all prescription and nonprescription medicines you take. Find out if any of them may be making your incontinence worse.
Use a bladder diary to keep track of your symptoms and any leaking of urine. Your diary can help you and your doctor find the best treatment for you.
If you have trouble reaching the bathroom before you urinate, try making a clearer, quicker path to the bathroom and wearing clothes that are easily removed (such as those with elastic waistbands or Velcro closures). Or keep a bedpan close to your bed or chair.
Wear a tampon while doing activities such as jogging or dancing to put a little pressure on your urethra and to temporarily slow or stop leakage.
Avoid drinking too much or too little fluid. Too much can increase the need to urinate and increase incontinence. Too little can cause dehydration.
Pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises can help women who have any type of urinary incontinence.1 These exercises are especially useful for stress incontinence. But they may also help urge incontinence.
Losing weight often helps stress incontinence. Remember that effective weight-loss programs depend on a combination of diet and exercise. For more information, see the topics:
Sometimes making lifestyle changes can help with urge incontinence. Try to identify any foods that might irritate your bladder-including citrus fruits, chocolate, tomatoes, vinegars, dairy products, aspartame, and spicy foods-and cut back on them. Also, avoid alcohol and caffeine.
If you smoke, try to quit. This may reduce coughing, which may reduce your problem with incontinence. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
Take steps to avoid constipation:
Include fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains in your diet each day. These foods are high in fiber.
Drink plenty of fluids, enough so that your urine is light yellow or clear like water.
Get some exercise every day. Try to do moderate activity at least 2½ hours a week. Or try to do vigorous activity at least 1¼ hours a week. It's fine to be active in blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout your day and week.
Take a fiber supplement, such as Citrucel or Metamucil, every day if needed. Start with a small dose and very slowly increase the dose over a month or more.
Schedule time each day for a bowel movement. Having a daily routine may help. Take your time and don't strain when having a bowel movement.
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