Urinary incontinence is the inability to control the release of urine from your bladder. This can mean an occasional leakage whenever you sneeze or laugh, or having an urge to urinate that is so strong that you cannot get to the bathroom in time. Incontinence can be an extremely distressing problem, and it can seriously impact the quality of life of those affected.
If you experience incontinence, you are not alone. According to the Urology Care Foundation, more than 15 million American men and women suffer from incontinence, many of whom suffer needlessly because the condition can be managed and treated quite effectively.
There are three types of incontinence: stress, urge and overflow. Stress incontinence may occur during physical activity such as exercising, sneezing or laughing. The activity causes the sphincter muscle, which normally holds urine in the bladder, to weaken and release urine. Urge incontinence occurs when you have a strong need to urinate, which causes you to lose control of your bladder. Finally, overflow incontinence happens when you do not completely empty your bladder when you urinate, causing you to lose urine even after you have gone to the bathroom.
Oftentimes, incontinence is the symptom of an underlying medical problem, such as kidney stones, a urinary tract infection or an enlarged prostrate. Because many sufferers are embarrassed to talk about this problem, larger health issues can go undiagnosed. Therefore it is extremely important to discuss any instance of incontinence with your HealthCare Partners provider.
During your visit your physician will perform a physical examination and ask questions about your daily habits, including what you typically eat and drink, and any medications or supplements that you take. Your doctor will also ask you which type of incontinence you are experiencing and how long you have gone through symptoms.
Although urinary incontinence can seem like an embarrassing matter to discuss with your provider, it is extremely important that you do so. Incontinence can be effectively managed or treated, and the sooner you seek help from your doctor, the earlier you will be able to alleviate the problem. There are a variety of treatments and medications available to manage urinary incontinence, so please remember to talk to your HealthCare Partners physician to discuss your options.