Laughing, working out, cough or sneeze – causing you to leak? You’re not alone, not by a long shot. Urinary incontinence is uncontrolled urine output, even in small amounts. Urinary incontinence can range from infrequent leakage to full bladder release.
Many causes are not detrimental to your health but are distressing and embarrassing. If it is affecting your fluid intake, socializing, or health activities – seek help from your doctor or pharmacist. Don’t let urinary incontinence hold you back from maintaining physical, social and mental health.
You should seek a doctor’s help to determine the type of incontinence you have:
- Stress incontinence is the most common, occurring when you laugh, jump, cough or sneeze. Causes include pregnancy, giving birth, menopause (decreased estrogen production), hysterectomy, aging, or obesity.
- Urge incontinence is when you want to urinate and you can’t get to the bathroom in time. It can happen even if you have very little urine in your bladder. Causes include damage to the nerves or muscles that control urination. People with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, enlarged prostate, cystitis, or inflammation of the urinary tract may have this type of incontinence.
- Overflow incontinence means you have a full bladder and have difficulty emptying the bladder, but will be incontinent. Causes include enlarged prostate, presence of stones, tumour, or constipation.
- Total incontinence means there is no control over urinating. Cause is due to total loss of muscle or nerve control. Causes include spinal cord damage, paralysis, or physical abnormalities.
Knowing the different types of incontinence may help you describe your own symptoms, but let your doctor diagnose which type you may have.
Your pharmacist can help determine if your incontinence may be linked to medications that you are taking. Discuss the activities you wish to pursue and your concerns with your Pharmachoice pharmacist. The pharmacist can help with proper fit and function of incontinence products. There are also treatment options before considering medication or surgery, including bladder control exercises, pelvic floor exercises, sphincter strengthening, catheters, and urethral inserts. Your pharmacist is a great starting point for discussions.
Seek immediate medical attention if your incontinence appears suddenly if there is pain or fever associated, or urine colour is different than normal. Do get a doctor to diagnose the cause for your incontinence to rule out bladder cancer, or causes that require medical attention. Urinary incontinence may be a symptom of an infection or serious condition.