Urinary incontinence is the condition of losing bladder control. This can range from an occasional leaking of urine, to a complete inability to hold any urine at all.
Another form of incontinence called bowel incontinence describes the inability to control the passage of stool. This can range from an occasional leakage of stool with the passage of gas, to a complete loss of control of bowel movements.
Incontinence is most common among the elderly. Women are more likely than men to have urinary incontinence as the result of loss of bladder muscle tone due to pregnancy or intercourse.
It is common for some people to have a slight loss of control over their urination when they are laughing too hard.
Types of Incontinence
The two main types of urinary incontinence are stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
- Stress incontinence occurs during certain activities like coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercise.
- Urge incontinence involves a strong, sudden need to urinate followed by and unpredictable bladder contraction and involuntary loss of urine. Most people do not have enough time to get to the washroom with this kind of incontinence and do end up soiling themselves.
Incontinence may be sudden and temporary, or ongoing and long-term.
The main causes of sudden or temporary incontinence are infection of the urinary tract or prostrate, severe constipation, weight gain, pregnancy and mental confusion (such as the type of disorientation that occurs as the result of being woken up suddenly.)
Incontinence can also be the side effects of many medications such as diuretics, tranquilizers, some cough and cold remedies, certain antihistamines for allergies, and antidepressants.
There also conditions that can cause long term cases of incontinence. These include spinal injuries, urinary tract abnormalities, weakness of the sphincter and neurological condition such as multiple sclerosis or stroke. Sometimes urinary incontinence occurs when the disease of diabetes is not controlled correctly. Inc
In woman a condition can occur called pelvic prolapse which causes the bladder to fall into the pelvic space in a way that cause it to malfunction.In men an overly large prostrate can cause incontinence.
Incontinence can also be a symptom of bladder cancer or a bladder infection.
Nerve or muscle damage (from stroke, trauma, tumor, or radiation) can cause bowel incontinence as can bladder cancer and trauma from gynecological, prostate, or rectal surgery.
Naturopathic Support and Self-Care
Treatment options vary, depending on the cause of the incontinence and the type of incontinence you have. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help manage incontinence. Among the suggested coping strategies are:
- Bladder retraining, which involves urinating according a strict schedule that starts with urinating once an hour and then is extended by an hour to at least four hours over time
- Kegel exeercises, that require contracting the muscles of the pelvic floor for ten seconds then relax them for ten seconds ten times in a row three times a day.
- For leakage, most people wear absorbent pads or undergarments. There are many well-designed products that go completely unnoticed by anyone but you.
- Avoiding alcohol and caffeinated beverages that stimulate the bladder MAY ALSO also prevent incontinence. Avoid foods and drinks that may irritate your bladder like spicy foods, carbonated beverages, and citrus fruits and juices.
The outlook for all kinds of incontinence is good as long as you take the necessary life style changes to improve the situation.
Often it is minor changes to routines or lifestyle advice that help an individual prevent and cope with this issue. Naturopathic services provided at the Pinewood Natural Health clinic include acupuncture, herbal remedies, homeopathic remedies and dietary counseling and homeopathy. Our integrated practice also has a focus on anti-aging therapies and weight loss.. Feel free to contact us online. You can also call us at our Toronto Clinic at (416) 556-8100 or at the Pickering Clinic (905) 427-0057.