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Do you ever have trouble with bladder leakage or making it to the bathroom in time? If so, you may be suffering from urinary incontinence, a common medical condition which involves a loss of bladder control. It may happen when you laugh at a friend’s joke, or when you cough during a bad cold. You may also have an occasional urge to urinate that seems to come out of nowhere, but find yourself unable to reach the bathroom in time.
What Causes Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary incontinence can be caused by a number of different factors. Its root cause lies in the muscles that control the flow of your urine. If your bladder contracts without warning, or your sphincter muscles can no longer hold back the flow of urine, you may urinate without intending to.
Common causes of urinary incontinence include pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause. It can also be caused by a urinary tract infection, constipation or certain neurological disorders. Risk factors, such as gender, weight and other conditions, do not generally cause urinary incontinence, but they can make it worse.
Temporary urinary incontinence is often caused by consuming too much alcohol or caffeine. It can also be caused by certain medications and sedatives.
What Treatments are Available for Urinary Incontinence?
For mild cases of urinary incontinence, you may be able to manage simply by wearing pads and using the bathroom frequently. If not, your doctor will likely have several recommendations.
Kegel exercises help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. This is one of the most popular treatment options for urinary incontinence, as Kegel exercises can be performed almost anywhere, from your desk at work to watching TV at home. It is recommended that you discuss how to perform them with your doctor, however. Ensuring you are performing Kegel exercises correctly will make them much more effective.
Other methods to improve your bladder control include losing weight, and lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking. There are medications available which may help. You may also want to try biofeedback, nerve stimulation, or pessary devices. If nothing else is helping, surgery is a treatment option, depending on the type of urinary incontinence you have.
Urinary incontinence may be embarrassing, but if you are suffering, you aren't alone. Speak to your doctor about your treatment options today.