Bladder incontinence can be distressing and embarrassing. The underlying causes give rise to it being classified generally as stress incontinence or urge incontinence. There are other types, but these two are the most common.
Bladder incontinence in women, especially those, who have given birth, are generally affected more than males, and the incidence normally increases with age. Urge incontinence is seen when there is a loss of voluntary control in emptying the bladder.
The bladder is an expandable oval shaped organ, fed at the top end by two tubes called Ureters, from the kidneys .At the lower end is the outlet, controlled by rings of muscle called a sphincter, which are activated or relaxed by means of a complex series of nerve impulse.
A learning process is normally adopted whereby we choose to control this function to suit our daily routine. For various reasons, usually neurogenic, the loss of control means that the bladder will resort to emptying when it is full or partially full.
Stress incontinence on the other hand, is probably more common, especially after childbirth. Any activity which increases the abdominal pressure e.g. coughing, sneezing, laughing or heavy lifting and straining, can if the sphincter muscles are slack, allow urine to leak, especially if the bladder is relatively full.
Treatment is always directed to establishing and correcting where possible the underlying cause. For both types of incontinence there is every possibility to achieve an improvement, if not cure. It may be necessary to be prescribed suitable medication, yet sometimes all that is needed is to improve the tone of the pelvic floor muscles, and retrain yourself to emptying your bladder more frequently to reduce the stress on the sphincter muscles.
For further information tel. The Association for Continence Advice 0207 820 8113.
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