Why Does Urine Leak and How is It Treated?
There are several different kinds of urinary incontinence from stress incontinence to urge incontinence, and they happen for different reasons. In this article Marcus Hudson, Pelvic Floor Specialist at Body Lipo Lincoln, reveals the reality of this embarrassing condition and discusses the various incontinence treatments options that are available.
We’ve all been caught short once or twice; that desperate feeling when the bladder feels fit to burst and there isn’t a loo in sight. But while most people only experience this nightmare situation once in a while, for others it’s a daily occurrence that seriously limits quality of life. More than seven million people in the UK experience urinary incontinence on a daily basis, with many more going untreated or failing to seek medical help out of embarrassment. The important thing to remember is that medical professionals are used to dealing with all sorts of conditions, and they won’t bat an eyelid about your misbehaving bladder. The sooner you seek incontinence treatments the greater your chances of a quick turnaround in symptoms, so don’t suffer in silence.
Reasons for Leaking Urine
Any loss of urine that’s unintentional is classed as urinary incontinence. It can vary from just a slight trickle to multiple heavy leaks a day, and it can have a huge impact on your social life and self-confidence. Here are the main types of urinary incontinence:
Stress incontinence (SUI)
Urine, is stored in the bladder. When we need to get rid of it the bladder and surrounding muscles contract, pushing the urine through a tube called the urethra, which relaxes as the fluid passes through. These muscles play a very important role in controlling our toileting habits, but like any other muscle, if they become too weak, they struggle to do their job properly. When the pelvic floor muscles fail to work as they should, even simple things like laughing, coughing, sneezing, lifting and having sex can put them under serious pressure. When that pressure is too much and urine leaks out, it’s known as stress incontinence (SUI).
Stress Incontinence is far more commonly seen in women than men, because pregnancy and childbirth put the pelvic floor under a huge amount of pressure. Other things like regularly straining for a bowel movement or having had a hysterectomy are also major risk factors. When stress incontinence is seen in men, it’s usually following prostate surgery.
Urge incontinence often goes hand in hand with an overactive bladder (OAB), and it’s characterised by a sudden, desperate need to wee that seems to come out of nowhere. It happens when the bladder muscles contract on their own, giving sufferers no time run to the toilet.
Often people experiencing urge incontinence find that when they actually do make it to the bathroom, there’s hardly any pee there at all. An overactive bladder can be very confusing to live with and is caused by a problem in the nervous system, when the brain and the bladder fail to send each other the right messages.
Mood disorders like anxiety and stress can also play an important role in urge urinary incontinence, because the same part of the brain that controls anxiety also controls the bladder. Incontinence and anxiety share the same neurological and hormonal pathways, and a 2020 study found that there’s a direct link between incontinence and high levels of anxiety.
Overflow incontinence happens when your bladder doesn’t empty properly when you urinate. This can be very uncomfortable and disconcerting, causing a feeling of fullness and frequent dribbling. This kind of incontinence tends to be more prevalent among men and can be caused by diabetes, kidney stones, tumours and some medications.
Sometimes, medical conditions make it difficult to get to the loo or unbutton trousers in time causing functional incontinence. Examples of this include physical and neurological disabilities such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis and other conditions that can cause poor dexterity.
As the name suggests, transient incontinence is temporary and caused by other short-term conditions or situations. Once the other problem is dealt with, the incontinence usually stops.
It’s possible to have several different types of incontinence at once – for example, SUI and urge incontinence often present at the same time with different degrees of severity. This is called mixed incontinence, and the symptoms include:
• Sudden leaking of wee without any warning
• Bed wetting
• Leaking during sex
• Urinating more than normal
Incontinence Risk Factors
There are lots of reasons why someone might become incontinent and it can happen to anyone, male or female, young or old. But some people are more prone to urinary incontinence than others, so here are the most common risk factors in adults:
• Being a woman. Having female reproductive organs places you at a much higher risk of incontinence, and women are twice as likely to experience urinary incontinence than men. This is particularly true if you’re experienced pregnancy, vaginal deliveries and/or the menopause. It’s the hormone changes associated with menopause that tend to be the biggest issue, because the lack of female hormones can make the tissues in the vaginal wall weaker.
• Ageing – with age the muscles get weaker, and this is true in the pelvic floor and surrounding area too. it’s important to know that getting older doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll definitely become incontinent, but prevention is better than cure. Regular pelvic floor exercises, eating a good diet and keeping your weight in check can all help keep your bladder strong.
• Prostate problems – this is the most common cause of incontinence among men, particularly later in life. The prostate is a gland that sits just below the bladder and around the top of the urethra, and if the gland becomes enlarged it can put pressure on the surrounding area, leading to incontinence.
• Birth defects – certain abnormalities in the structure of the urinary tract can significantly raise the risk of incontinence.
• Family history – if a parent or other close family member has urge incontinence, you may be at greater risk of developing it yourself.In some cases, there’s no obvious cause for urinary incontinence. “Perfectly healthy people can become incontinent, and it can take healthcare experts a while to figure out what’s happening,” said Marcus.
When to Get Help for Urinary Incontinence
Although urinary incontinence is quite common it’s definitely not something you should just accept as normal, or something you just have to put up with. Marcus explained that millions of people choose to suffer in silence instead of asking for help, but rest assured experts like Marcus and his team at Body Lipo Lincoln have seen it all before. Your doctor will also be totally pragmatic about your situation and there’s no need to be embarrassed, so if you’re starting to feel like incontinence is ruling your life it’s time to get help.
Marcus explained, “Many patients resist getting help for ages, choosing instead to limit their social lives or change the things they wear in order to fit around their bladder problems. You don’t have to give up on the things you enjoy in life, and urinary incontinence can almost always be treated.”
Ongoing incontinence doesn’t just affect the bladder, mood and social choices. It can also lead to skin problems like rashes, soreness and infections due to wetness. Wet skin is a perfect breeding ground for germs, so you may also find the area starting to smell unpleasant and make you even more self-conscious than you were
already. The first place to go if you’re worried about leaking urine is your doctor. They will assess your symptoms and make sure there are no underlying health conditions causing the incontinence, before referring you for incontinence treatments.
How is Urinary Incontinence Diagnosed?
The signs of urinary incontinence are easy to spot, but the causes aren’t always so straightforward. Your doctor will want to undertake a thorough check up and possibly refer you for scans to get to the root of the problem. They will probably ask you to keep a bladder diary, where you note down how much, when and how you urinate over a period of time. The tests you may be asked to undertake include blood tests, urine tests, bladder function tests and imaging screening/scans.
Incontinence Treatment Plans
An incontinence diagnosis definitely isn’t all doom and gloom, and many patients find they’re totally cured of their symptoms shortly after starting treatment. For those where a complete cure isn’t possible, there’s commonly a drastic improvement in symptoms that makes life feel more manageable.
The incontinence treatments available vary according to what kind of urinary incontinence you have and how severe the symptoms are, but they include:
• Pelvic floor/Kegel exercises
• Lifestyle changes
• Botox injections
• Stress incontinence devices
The BTL Emsella Chair
The BTL Emsella Chair is a revolutionary device that’s been cleared by the FDA and was developed by an expert in urinary incontinence treatments.
The chair is fitted with a powerful magnet that creates an electromagnetic field that stimulates and strengthens the pelvic floor. In under half an hour, the chair delivers the equivalent of a huge 11,200 Kegel exercises, taking the muscles to supramaximal levels.
Regular use of the Emsella chair strengthens the pelvic floor and boosts the messaging system between the bladder and the brain, giving you more control. It can also be used to tighten the vaginal canal and treat erectile dysfunction in men, and it’s a totally painless, non-invasive treatment that allows you to stay fully clothed. And because the chair does all the exercises for you, there’s no need for any effort or concentration on your part – you can bring a book or listen to music and let the chair take care of everything!
Results are amazing – 95% report a marked improvement in urinary incontinence and 84% are completely cured.
How to Prevent Urinary Incontinence
Incontinence can’t always be prevented, but there are plenty of ways to minimise your risk of developing bladder problems. These include:
• Losing weight
• Doing pelvic floor exercises
• Eating a high fibre diet to minimise constipation
• Avoiding sugary drinks, caffeine, acidic foods or other irritants
• Giving up smoking
• Taking special care of your pelvic floor during pregnancy – ask your midwife for advice
Are You Ready to Reclaim Your Freedom?
Your bladder doesn’t have to rule your life. If you’re experiencing urinary incontinence and want to know more about how the BTL Emsella Chair can help you, contact us today to arrange a no-obligation consultation. Should you wish to book a consultation, the cost is £50. To Book your consultation you can click the link below or call 01522 523777 in office hours.
BOOK CONSULTATION HERE
In the meantime, should you have any additional questions do not hesitate to contact me.
To find out more you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact our incontinence expert on 01522 523777