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Urinary Incontinence – Facts and Myths

Friday, May 29th, 2009

There are so many misconceptions regarding urinary incontinence. For instance, many people wrongly assume that incontinence is a normal and expected part of the aging process, and that bringing the problem to a doctor’s attention will likely bring embarrassment and not much else in the way of effective treatment. In fact, the sooner you inform your doctor about the problem, the sooner treatment can be instituted.

Many people are also unaware that simple lifestyle changes can often make a huge difference in incontinence symptoms, such as cutting down on caffeine and alcohol intake and decreasing fluid intake before bed. Losing weight and quitting smoking are two other lifestyle changes that can also improve incontinence.

Another common misperception is that it is only women who are affected by urinary incontinence. Although women are about twice as likely as men to be affected, there are millions of men worldwide who suffer from incontinence. Although the underlying causes of incontinence are sometimes different between women and men, the social and emotional effects are similar.

To view the full article regarding myths and facts about urinary incontinence, visit www.dryforlife.co.uk or download the free DryForLife Guide to Living With Incontinence.

Further Urinary Incontinence Articles

What are the Types of Urinary Incontinence?

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Stress urinary incontinence
Stress urinary incontinence can be due to insufficient strength of the pelvic floor muscles. This condition is associated with actions that increase intra-abdominal pressure, thereby increasing pressure on the bladder,  such as exercise, lifting weights, coughing, sneezing, and laughing. The underlying problem with stress incontinence is the weakness of the bladder sphincter muscle.

This condition is extremely common in  women who have given birth, are pregnant, or who have been through menopause. In men, this is the most common form of incontinence subsequent to undergoing prostatectomy. The good news is that we can treat stress incontinence.

Urge incontinence
Urge incontinence is characterized by the sudden loss of urine occurring following a sudden and urgent need to urinate. Urges are accompanied by uncomfortable bladder spasms. Involuntary detrusor muscle contraction is the most common cause of urge incontinence, causing the bladder to empty before it is full. Another name for urge incontinence is reflex incontinence. It may also be referred to as spastic or overactive bladder.

There are two type of urge incontinence: (a). idiopathic detrusor overactivity – due to surrounding or local inflammation, infection, or irritation of the bladder; (b) neurogenic detrusor overactivity – due to defective central nervous system inhibitory response.

Mixed urinary incontinence
Mixed incontinence is a term used to describe the condition of having two or more types of incontinence. The most common combination of mixed incontinence is urge and stress incontinence.

Transitional Incontinence
Transitional incontinence is experienced for a short period of time. This condition may result from specific circumstances which, when dealth with, lead to an incontinence “cure”. A common example of this would be urinary tract infection. Once the infection is treated, the person is no longer incontinent.

Functional incontinence
Functional incontinence is incontinence due to physical limitation or limited mobility of the person, who is unable to get to the bathroom in time. This is common with people suffering from Alzheimer’s, confusion, dementia, arthritis or in  people who have problems with thinking, moving or communicating.

Overflow incontinence
Overflow incontinence is characterized by leaking or dribbling of urine due to over-filling of the bladder. This is usually due to weakness of the bladder muscles or a blockage in the urethra, resulting in incomplete emptying of the bladder. This is common among people suffering from diabetes, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, or benign prostatic hypertrophy. Medication such as anticholinergic can worsen this condition.

Structural incontinence
This is the rarest form of incontinence and is caused by structural problems usually diagnosed in childhood. An example of this is ectopic ureter. Surgery is frequently required to effect a cure.

Bedwetting (enuresis)
Bedwetting is normal with young children. This condition is also called episodic urinary incontinence while asleep.

For more information, you can download our DryForLife Guide to Living with Incontinence.  You can also email or call our Discreet Advice Helpline or Freephone 0800 051 7729 to find out more about incontinence products available to help you cope on a day-to-day basis.

More details on types of Incontinence

Physiology of Urinary Incontinence

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Definition:

Urinary Incontinence -  the involuntary and unplanned leakage of urine due to loss of bladder control.

Physiologic Anatomy:

The urinary bladder is a smooth muscled organ composed of two parts:  (a) the body – the major part of the bladder where the urine collects, and (b) the neck – which is a funnel-shaped extension of the body, passing inferiorly to the urethra.

The smooth muscle of the bladder is known as the detrusor muscle.  Its muscle fibers extend in all directions and, when contracted, it can increase the pressure in the bladder to sometimes as high as 40-60 mmHg.

On the posterior wall of the bladder, immediately above the bladder neck, two ureters enter the bladder.  Where each ureter enters the bladder, it courses obliquely through the detrusor muscle and then pass underneath the bladder mucosa before emptying into the bladder.

Another name for the bladder neck muscle is internal sphincter.  Its natural tone keeps the bladder neck and posterior urethra empty of urine and therefore prevents emptying of the bladder until the pressure in the body of the bladder rises above a critical threshold.

Beyond the posterior urethra, the urethra passes through the urogenital diaphragm, which contains a layer of muscle called the external sphincter of the bladder.  This muscle is a voluntary skeletal muscle,  in contrast to the muscle of the bladder body and bladder neck, which is entirely smooth muscle.  This external muscle is under voluntary control of the nervous system and can be used to prevent urination,  even when the involuntary controls are attempting to empty the bladder.

What is Incontinence?

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Around 6 million people in the UK are estimated to suffer from incontinence. Of the overall population aged 60, it may surprise you to know that 35% are likely to be incontinent. If you think that this condition only affects the elderly, then think again. Do you know that among the 15-65 age group, 25% of woman and 5 % of men have incontinence? You are not alone. The good news is that there are solutions to this problem.

Incontinence – is defined as the unplanned and uncontrolled passage of waste material due to the loss of normal control of bladder or bowels.  There are two major categories of incontinence; namely, faecal incontinence and urinary incontinence.

Faecal Incontinence – is the uncontrolled passing of faeces/gas (air),  probably due to weakened sphincter musculature. Unlike normal defecation, in which a person is aware of passing a bowel movement, in faecal incontinence, there is the loss of the ability to control this passage. Faecal incontinence ranges from occasional leakage of stool while passing gas to a complete loss of bowel control.

Urinary Incontinence – is the involuntary leakage of urine.  Urinary incontinence can range from occasional leakage to complete inability to hold urine related to loss of bladder control.  It can be as mild as slight dribbling or occasional leakage when you sneeze or cough; or it could be so strong that you will not be able to get to the toilet in time, losing the entire contents of the bladder.

Incontinence is one of the most expensive conditions to maintain, both in the form of health care system dollars and bladder control products. More than 50% of admissions to nursing facilities are related to incontinence. One of the leading causes of admission to assisted-living facilities are injuries related to incontinence.

Because incontinence can cause distress in the form of embarrassment, loneliness, and isolation, it is important to find ways to deal with it. The problem will not go away if ignored. Make an appointment with your doctor now to discuss treatments that can help you improve the quality of your life.

We at DryForLife understand the sensitive nature of your condition and would like to assure you of our careful attention to ensuring that your inquiries are dealt with in a discreet and confidential manner. You can email us or call our Discreet Advice Helpline on FREE PHONE 0800 051 7729 to find out more about incontinence products available to help you cope on a day-to-day basis..

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