Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine. It means a person urinates when they do not want to. Control over the urinary sphincter is either lost or weakened.
Urinary incontinence is a common problem that affects many people.
According to the American Urological Association, one-quarter to one-third of men and women in the United States experience urinary incontinence.
Frequency is not the same as urinary incontinence, where there is leakage of urine.
Sometimes, frequent urination can indicate a more serious condition. Early identification of the problem can lead to a timely and effective treatment and prevent complications.
Fast facts on frequent urination:
Here are some key points about urinary incontinence. More detail is in the main article.
Urinary incontinence is more common in females than in males.
There are a number of reasons why urinary incontinence can occur.
Obesity and smoking are both risk factors for urinary incontinence.
What is urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is when a person cannot prevent urine from leaking out.
It can be due to stress factors, such as coughing, it can happen during and after pregnancy, and it is more common with conditions such as obesity.
The chances of it happening increase with age.
Bladder control and pelvic floor, or Kegel, exercises can help prevent or reduce it.
One of the main symptoms of polyuria is urinating frequently. If there are other symptoms, they may indicate another, possibly more serious condition.
Nocturia, for example, is the need to urinate at night, during the sleep cycle. This can be a symptom of diabetes insipidus or diabetes mellitus.
Other symptoms that may need further attention include:
- pain or discomfort while urinating
- urine that is bloody, cloudy, or of an unusual color
- gradual loss of bladder control, or urinary incontinence
- difficulty urinating despite the urge
- discharge from the vagina or penis
- an increase in appetite or thirst
- fever or chills
- nausea or vomiting
- low back or side pain
Treatment will depend on several factors, such as the type of incontinence, the patient’s age, general health, and their mental state.
Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, help strengthen the urinary sphincter and pelvic floor muscles – the muscles that help control urination.
Delaying the event: The aim is to control urge. The patient learns how to delay urination whenever there is an urge to do so.
Double voiding: This involves urinating, then waiting for a couple of minutes, then urinating again.
Toilet timetable: The person schedules bathroom at set times during the day, for example, every 2 hours.
Bladder training helps the patient gradually regain control over their bladder.
By Catherine Paddock