When it comes to urinary incontinence, there isn’t a “one size fits all” type of treatment. This is because there are several different types and causes of bladder leaks. The key to obtaining relief from your incontinence is to first establish the cause so that treatment will be more effective.
Bladder incontinence is most commonly seen in women. But men are not immune, especially as they age and issues with their prostate arise.
Below you will uncover the common causes of urinary incontinence, as well as what you can do to treat it.
Common causes of urinary incontinence and treatment
The most common cause of bladder leaks and urges is overhydration. Although it is recommended to consume eight glasses of water a day, this can vary person to person. It means that eight glasses for you in a day could have you rushing to the bathroom while for someone else, it doesn’t affect their urine output.
Playing around with different levels of fluid intake in your day can help you narrow in on how much you need to drink. Also, keep in mind that hydration can come from certain foods. So, if you are consuming high-fluid foods, then you’ll want to cut back on your fluid intake.
A good rule of thumb to determine if you are well-hydrated is to have your urine appear as a pale yellow. The darker your urine is, the more dehydrated you are.
Another common cause is weak pelvic floor muscles. You can combat this by practicing Kegel exercises, which are done by tightening your pelvic muscles—similar to how you would if you were holding in urine. Simply hold the muscles tight for a few seconds and release. You can perform such exercises anytime and anywhere as no one knows you’re doing them!
Some women obtain relief from their leaks by wearing a tampon-like device. But for more serious leaks, your doctor may recommend a permanent sling, which is inserted beneath the urethra. The success of this sling is roughly seen in 85 percent of users, who note that they stop experiencing leaks. But, to get a permanent sling, you have to be sure you are done having children.
Furthermore, as with any medical procedure, there is a risk associated with it. Roughly two percent of women must undergo a follow-up procedure to loosen the sling, as it is too tight and doesn’t allow the bladder to empty.
There are some drugs your doctor can prescribe known as anticholinergics and beta-3 adrenergic agonists. But as with any prescription medication, side effects may occur including dry eyes and constipation.
Another procedure that can be done for those suffering from urge incontinence is known as posterior tibial nerve stimulation. It is like a form of acupuncture.
Newer studies have now found that Botox can benefit a leaky bladder, too. Botox allows the bladder muscles to relax and can benefit patients between six to 18 months. Once again though, Botox injections can have risks, such as working too well. In this case, the patient may need to use a catheter for a while until it wears off a bit.
Although it may be frustrating to live with a leaky bladder, there are several options available for you. The key is to talk to your doctor and work together to uncover your specific cause of urinary incontinence and develop a more effective treatment plan.
Related: Urinary incontinence in women