Fathom the Embarrassing Medical Problem Called Urinary Incontinence

Updated at: May 26, 2014
Fathom the Embarrassing Medical Problem Called Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence refers to the involuntary loss of control over the bladder. Learn about the different types of urinary incontinence and their causes.

Bhadra Kamalasanan
MiscellaneousWritten by: Bhadra KamalasananPublished at: Feb 28, 2013

The involuntary passage of urine or fecal matter is referred to as urinary incontinence. In medical terms, it is the loss of control over the bladder that indicates urinary incontinence. The condition may either trigger a total loss of all of the bladder’s contents or just about a little. Patients suffering from this medical condition may seek relief after medication while in others the condition may be chronic.

urinary incontinence

Types of Urinary Incontinence

There are different types of urinary incontinence that can be categorised on the basis of the reasons why they happen.

Stress incontinence

This type of incontinence is triggered when the pelvic muscles located beneath the bladder are not strong enough to stand the stress or pressure that is being exerted on the bladder. The urine drains out when pelvic muscles give their way and release the squeeze around the bottom of the bladder. This most commonly occurs at the time of pregnancy, while sneezing, during coughing, while lifting or laughing and certain body movements that put stress on the bladder.

Urge Incontinence

This type of incontinence is also a common one and is associated with an overactive bladder. In people with urge incontinence, the bladder is extremely sensitive to nerve signals, stretching, etc. The patient tends to feel the urge to urinate even when the bladder is only half filled. In urge incontinence, the bladder squeezes even after minimal trigger. The bladder is so sensitive in urge incontinence that one feels the urge to urinate even at the thought of urinating. The patient will find himself/herself urinating at the hum of running water or when turning the tap to wash hands.

causes of incontinence

Causes of Urinary Incontinence

Women tend to experience some level or form of incontinence that is several times more pronounced after childbirth. This is because pregnancy as well as childbirth affects the conditioning of the pelvic muscles and the process of childbirth can cause injury to the nerves as well as stretching.

Injury to the nerves near the pelvic area is the most common cause of urge incontinence. A women who has had a child recently, will be surprised to find that her urinary incontinence does not get treated even after really long time post childbirth. This is because nerve healing takes its own time.

Temporary urinary incontinence is caused by urinary tract infection. It can result from sagging of the uterus or the irritation of vagina. Certain neurological problems such as spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis can cause the bladder to become full and thus, overflow. Incontinence may be a side-effect on people who have been through radiation treatment or surgery of the prostate.

Another reason for urinary incontinence could be osteoporosis or some form of arthritis, which inhibits movements. These people have a functional bladder as well as control, but fail to avoid urinating prematurely because their movement is limited. Urinary incontinence occurs in such people because they take too long to reach the bathroom.


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