Understanding what causes your incontinence is key to dealing with it. Your doctor can find out what triggers episodes of urine leakage and how you can live an active life despite them.
For all intents and purposes, urinary incontinence is not a disease but a manifestation of another underlying problem in the human body. It can be temporary in nature, brought on by a weakened immune system or illness, or of a longer duration if brought on by surgery and infection in the urinary tract.
Urinary incontinence can affect both men and women, though doctors agree that women are more prone to it since their pelvic muscles are often weakened by childbirth, reproductive diseases and uterine or fallopian tube surgery. Pregnancy, vaginal infections, aging and even menopause can cause the condition to develop in women. In men, the problem is often caused by prostate or bladder infections.
Often, urinary tract infections brought on by excess salt or sugar in the diet, smoking and alcohol consumption, or prolonged consumption of antibiotics can result in urinary incontinence. These infections irritate the bladder and cause a frequent urge to urinate. Most infections can be traced back to consuming high amounts of substances or ingredients that make processing urine difficult, such as aerated drinks, artificial sweeteners, protein shakes, decaf tea and coffee, foods rich in Vitamin C and even spicy food.
While drinking lots of water every day is recommended, it can have an adverse effect on a person suffering from urinary incontinence. While the weakened bladder and urethra is unable to handle even small amounts of urine, a full bladder can trigger frequent episodes of urine leakage. However, urinary incontinence is also caused by consuming low amounts of water! When one drinks less water, the sodium content of the urine rises and causes kidney and bladder stones. These are hard formations that can block the flow of urine and trigger unexpected episodes of urine leakage.
Those on daily medication for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, blood thinning etc. also experience long term urinary incontinence. On the other hand, men and women suffering from neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia may have already compromised their urinary tract – with a lack of a clear neural signal to the bladder to empty itself when full, the bladder empties itself constantly and without warning.
Only an experienced doctor can diagnose the condition and find out its cause. Most sufferers of urinary incontinence are too embarrassed to say anything about their condition, which is a big mistake. Early diagnosis and treatment is crucial to bringing the problem under control. In some cases, early detection reveals that the problem is temporary and can be eradicated by simple lifestyle changes and exercise.
Wearing adult diapers can also ease the stress of the condition, allowing the person to have an active life without worrying about sudden urine leakage.