Urinary incontinence in women is a common condition among females across the world, and while some women experience a few drops of urine while physically active, a significant number may feel the immediate irresistible urge to pee. This goes to show you that urinary incontinence, abbreviated as UI, may either be a slightly embarrassing condition or can be totally debilitating. With the latter, most women are too embarrassed to go on with their normal lives. Add to this the fact that women are more predisposed to UI than men and it is easy to see why this condition can dramatically alter the quality of life an individual leads.
The reason why Urinary incontinence in women is more common than the condition in men is that the structure of the female urinary tract is very different from men. In addition, the lifetime changes that women go through such as pregnancy, childbirth as well as menopause contribute significantly to this phenomenal. Why then does this condition occur? Incontinence occurs as a result of the bladder muscles having problems with the nervous system that aid in the retaining and expulsion of urine. With this knowledge in mind, what are the different types of urinary incontinence in women?
Stress incontinence – this type of incontinence is manifested when a woman engages in physical activities that place pressure on the bladder thus leading to urine leak. This type of incontinence is aggravated by childbirth and menopause.
Urge incontinence – this type of Urinary incontinence in women is characterized by the sudden urge to urinate for no apparent reason. Abnormality in the sending of nerve signals is to blame. Medication such as diuretics only worsens this situation. Other conditions that can cause harm to the bladder’s nerves include: Multiple Sclerosis, stroke, spinal injury and Parkinson’s disease.
Functional incontinence – results when patients with pre-existing medical problems especially those that hamper with the thought process are unable to reach the washroom in time.
An overactive bladder – this happens when the nervous system signals the bladder at an inappropriate time thus causing the muscles to contract. Women with this condition find themselves urinating more than the normal 7 times in a period of 24 hours.
Evaluation of urinary incontinence in women
The first step that is carried out in this evaluation is to consider the type of incontinence that a woman is experiencing. To do this effectively, the physician will ask about your medical history and the pattern of incontinence. Various tests are also available to determine the best approach to the condition. They include:
- The bladder stress test
- An ultrasound to get a picture of how the urogential organs are.
- Urinalysis to check for infections.
Usually, the treatment path that a doctor chooses for Urinary incontinence in women is largely dependent on the type of incontinence and the underlying cause, if any. It is important to remember that all types of incontinence in women are treatable at all ages, so one need not be embarrassed to address the condition.