Urinary Incontinence Post 40's: Know The Types, Tips For Management And Risk Factors From Expert
Urinary incontinence: Obesity, recurrent urinary tract infections and constipaiton are all risk factors associated with urinary incontinence. Dr Megha Tuli elaborates further on the condition right here.
Stress can be a major contributing factor to urinary incontinence
- Urinary incontinence can be managed with the help of certain medication
- There are a few devices available for treatment of UI as well
- Long-term, chronic constipation can affect your bladder control
Women generally tend to brush aside this as yet another symptom of menopause. Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control and infact is a regular phenomenon for women in older age. Many women experience it and infact the frequency of this leakage continues to grow with age. The symptoms vary while some women may experience a few drops of leakage either while coughing, laughing or exercising or at times some women may experience a sudden urge to urinate and unable to hold even before reaching the washroom.
There can be multiple reasons for urinary incontinence but stress could play a pivotal role. Infact hormonal changes too can lead towards symptoms of UI and can affect the muscle strength of the pelvic region. Hence this is more prevalent among women who are pregnant, undergoing menopause etc. Estrogen hormones help in balancing menstruation and protects against coronary ailments and bone loss. Post menopause there is a drop in the levels and can cause the pelvic muscles to weaken, which makes bladder control difficult.
Types of urinary incontinence
- Stress incontinence: This is the result of weak pelvic muscles. Common symptoms to identify the symptoms are leakage while laughing, lifting heavy objects sneezing etc. This is common during the perimenopausal stage however it does not really get worst around the menopause
- Urge incontinence: As the name suggests, this is triggered by overly active or irritated bladder muscles. One of the common symptom is the constant urge to urinate and at time occasional leakage.
Despite the fact that this maybe one of the common menopausal symptom however if the problem persists and worsens it should not be ignored as it can hamper your daily functioning.
Urinary incontinence: Risk Factors
Menopause alone is not the only cause of bladder control issues. The following conditions along with menopause condition will increase your risk of urinary incontinence.
- Consuming large amounts of alcohol and caffeine can fill in your bladder quickly and force the urge to urinate more frequently.
- UTI infections: Infection in the tract or bladder can also cause UI, however once the infection subsides the condition can be resolved.
- Nerve damage can obstruct signals from your bladder to brain and can hamper the control mechanisms of urination.
- Medications: Certain heavy medications/steroids etc can also cause this condition.
- Constipation: Long-term or chronic constipation can affect bladder control considerably and leads to the weakening of pelvic muscles too.
- Obesity: Being excessively obese can increase the risk of UI. The additional weight can put pressure on the bladder causing the symptoms to worsen further.
Treatments for urinary incontinence
This varies from patient to patient and also depends on the type of UI one is suffering from. One can immediately begin by incorporating certain lifestyle changes like cutting on alcohol/caffeine. Doctor could also suggest quick pelvic exercises like kegel for strengthing the muscles, practicing to retract your bladder to hold urine for longer duration for better control. The doctor may further recommend weight loss and cutting on heavy greasy food.
- Medications: A few medications can help in managing the symptoms and calm the bladder. Doctor may prescribe special medications which may help in the estrogen production and help in holding up the bladder.
- Devices: There are plenty of devices available for treatment of UI. The same can be inserted in vagina /uthera to plug the leakage.
- Surgical intervention: This can be the last resort and a surgery can facilitate to repair and lift your bladder to a better position and patients who do not want to undergo any other form of treatment may opt for this.
Overall different kinds of UI may improve with proper care/medication but in some cases it maybe a permanent issue. It is always better to consult your doctor for the best possible or viable option for enjoying and active and confident life.
(Dr Megha Tuli, Consultant Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Cosmetologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Banashankari)
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