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Some answers to common questions about Incontinence

Posted Jul 16 2012 2:59pm

Do women have incontinence more often than men?

Unfortunately for women, yes. Urinary incontinence often occurs because of problems or weaknesses in muscles, support mechanisms and nerves that help to hold or release urine. Pregnancy and delivery, body changes associated with menopause and the way a woman’s female urinary tract is structured are among factors that contribute to twice as many women having incontinence problems. What’s important to know is that you don’t have to live your life wearing pads or being embarrassed by leakage. Incontinence is treatable at all ages.

Do symptoms differ for women?

The most common type of Urinary Incontinence for women is stress incontinence where coughing, laughing, sneezing, or other movements put pressure on the weakened bladder structure or surrounding muscles, resulting in urine leaks. With urge incontinence , women suddenly feel an uncontrollable urge to urinate and leak without control. Something as simple as hearing the sound of running water may be enough to prompt the release of urine. Mixed incontinence , a combination of stress and urge incontinence, also occurs much more frequently in women.

How is incontinence treated?

Significant progress has been made in treating incontinence effectively. Make an appointment with your Healthcare professional for an exam that will identify what type of incontinence you have. The doctor also will determine if you have underlying medical conditions that can cause incontinence.

Common medical reasons include pelvic growths, blockages and vaginal or bladder prolapses. Some medications also can contribute to the problem, so bring a list of all meds you take when you go to your appointment.

Depending on the type and extent of your problem, you may be referred for a course of treatment. This may include behavioral therapies such as fluid management, pelvic floor strengthening , bladder retraining , bulking agent injections, biofeedback or nerve stimulation (neuromodulation).

Finding the right combination for your needs may take some time and you will need to work with your Healthcare Professional to determine a treatment that works best for you. Sometimes surgery may be necessary; for instance, the bladder or urethra may have moved out of its normal position following childbirth.

What can I do to lessen my symptoms?

Some women find success by restricting certain liquids, such as coffee, tea, and alcohol. Severe constipation can worsen symptoms so try to keep your bowel movements regular. While absorbent undergarments such as adult diapers make the problem less visible, it’s important to use appropriate skincare products at the same time to avoid skin irritation and sores.

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