Urinary Incontinence Among Women: Types, Symptoms, and Treatment

urinary incontinence
credit: Gabe Pierce

Did you know that one in three women will experience some form of urinary incontinence in their lifetime? Urinary incontinence can be diagnosed both in men and women, but it is more common among women.

This blog post will discuss the types of urinary incontinence, as well as the symptoms and treatment options available.

Types of Urinary incontinence

urinary incontinence treatment
credit: Curology

Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine. It is a common problem, affecting millions of women of all ages.

The most common type is incontinence caused by stress. This type is caused by weakened pelvic floor muscles and/or damage to the nerves that control those muscles.

It often occurs after pregnancy and childbirth, when the pelvic floor muscles are weakened. It can also be caused by menopause when the loss of estrogen leads to thinning of the vaginal tissues and weakening of the pelvic floor muscles.

Other types include urge incontinence (the sudden, strong need to urinate followed by leakage), overflow incontinence (leakage due to a full bladder), and functional incontinence (when physical or mental limitations prevent you from leaving urine when you want).

How You Can Reduce the Risk

urinary incontinence prevention
credit: Anna Shvets

There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of urinary incontinence or lessen its severity:

• Maintain a healthy weight. This can help reduce stress on your bladder and surrounding muscles.
• Avoid foods and drinks that irritate your bladder. These include caffeine, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, acidic foods, and spicy foods.
• Quit smoking. Smoking contributes to urinary incontinence by weakening the muscles that control urine flow as well as causing coughing, which puts additional pressure on your bladder.
• Do pelvic floor muscle exercises regularly. Also known as Kegel exercises, these can help strengthen the muscles around your urethra and prevent leakage when you laugh, cough or sneeze.
• Limit how much fluid you drink in the evening so you don’t have to get up frequently during the night to urinate.

Treatment Options for Urinary Incontinence

urinary incontinence home remedies
credit: Vadim Artyukhin

Many options for treating urinary incontinence are available. The most common and first line of treatment is pelvic floor muscle training.

This involves learning how to contract and relax the muscles around the bladder neck and urethra. This can be done through a physiotherapist, continence nurse, or GP. There are also many online resources available.

Another common treatment is medication. Medication can be used to help with urge incontinence or stress incontinence.

It works by either relaxing the bladder muscles or increasing the amount of urine your body can hold before you feel the need to go to the toilet.

If these treatments do not work, there are other options that can be discussed with your doctor, such as:

• Botox injections into the bladder muscle
• Surgical procedures to support the urethra or bladder neck
• Electrical stimulation of the pelvic floor muscles
• Sacral nerve stimulation.

If you reside in Washington, you can find quality help by applying for the services of a specialist in urinary incontinence in Seattle.

What Should You Remember?

Urinary incontinence is a problem that many women face, but it doesn’t have to be a lifelong struggle. There are treatments and preventative measures available that can help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

If you are leaking urine, don’t wait to seek help. The sooner you get treatment, the less likely it is that your incontinence will become a long-term problem.