Nearly 17 million adults in the United States suffer from urinary incontinence (UI), a condition that causes the “involuntary leakage of urine.” While older adults are most affected most by UI, a growing number of younger adults (30%) are also battling this condition, which can interfere with day-to-day activities.
If you or a loved one is dealing with UI, you may be wondering what’s causing the condition and how to treat it.
The 4 Types of UI and Their Causes
There are four main types of urinary incontinence, and treatment options may vary with each type.
- Urgency UI
Urgency incontinence causes you to feel a sudden and immediate need to urinate, which is usually followed by involuntary leakage. This form of UI is most common in people who have poor bladder functioning or neurological problems. But in some cases, the condition can also have no cause and appears to be idiopathic in nature.
- Stress UI
Stress UI is one of the most common forms of this condition, and it occurs when increased pressure in the abdominal area causes involuntary leakage. When you hear people complain of leaking after sneezing, coughing, lifting, straining, bending or exerting themselves, stress urinary incontinence is to blame.
Stress UI can be caused by a number of things, including trauma, obesity, pregnancy, age, menopause and pelvic surgery.
- Overflow UI
Overflow UI occurs when the bladder becomes overly full, and urine leaks out because of pressure on the urinary sphincter. People with overflow UI may experience a slow or weak urinary stream, incomplete bladder emptying and straining to urinate. Some people may get up several times in the middle of the night to urinate.
This form of UI is more common in older men and may be caused by certain medications, benign prostatic hyperplasia or pelvic surgery. Certain neurological conditions can also cause UI in adults, such as spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s disease.
- Mixed UI
Middle-aged women may develop mixed UI, which causes both urgency and stress urinary incontinence. This form of UI is caused by fluctuating hormone levels and pressure on the lower urethra.
How to manage UI
Urinary incontinence is a treatable condition, and the right management plan can help you experience a higher quality of life. Along with incontinence products, behavioral therapy and lifestyle adjustments can help with the management of UI.
In cases where adults are unable to get out of bed, which can be common with seniors, bed pads can be used to protect bedding from leaks and keep the individual more comfortable throughout the night.
Behavioral therapy, bladder training and pelvic floor training (such as Kegel exercises) can also help with the management of UI.
For women with stress UI, Kegel exercises can be highly effective. To perform this exercise, you must tighten the pelvic floor muscles for ten seconds before letting go. Repeat this exercise three times, several times per day. With the right technique and frequency, results can be seen in as little as six weeks, although 12 weeks is more common.
Article Submitted By Community Writer