Is Urinary Incontinence Ever Normal?

Experts estimate that roughly half of older women and about 15% of older men experience some urinary incontinence. In fact, it’s such a common problem that many people think it’s simply a part of the aging process and nothing can be done about it.

Although your chances of developing urinary incontinence can increase due to age and other factors, it’s not a normal part of life. Fortunately, treatments are available. If you’re experiencing urinary incontinence, you should consider booking an appointment with Floyd Seskin, MD, at Seskin Urology. Dr. Seskin has 25 years of experience helping patients with urological problems, including incontinence. 

Causes of urinary incontinence

Women experience urinary incontinence far more often than men. This is in part because women have different organs in the pelvic region and because they experience pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and other events that can have a profound impact on their urological health. Additionally, women have a shorter urethra than men.

If the muscles of your pelvic floor weaken, you may find it more difficult to hold in urine. With weaker muscles, more strain is placed on your bladder and urethra, and the result can lead to urine leaking when you’re not ready to urinate. 

Incontinence happens to men, too

Although fewer men than women experience urinary incontinence, it’s not uncommon in men. Weak muscles around the bladder, an overactive bladder, nerve damage, and some prostate conditions can cause urinary incontinence in men. 

Types of urinary incontinence

Not all urinary incontinence is the same. There are five types:

Stress incontinence 

Stress incontinence is the most common, and it happens when there’s sudden stress on your bladder, as when you sneeze. Laughing, coughing, or lifting a heavy object are all examples of things that might cause stress incontinence. If you have stress incontinence, activities or events that put sudden pressure on your bladder can result in a small amount of urine leaking involuntarily. 

Urge incontinence

Urge incontinence, which is sometimes called overactive bladder, is different from stress incontinence. Instead of the loss of a small amount of urine, you lose larger amounts of urine with little or no warning. You may feel a sudden urge to urinate, then it happens involuntarily.

Overflow incontinence

If you feel like urine frequently dribbles out or like you can’t ever quite empty your bladder, you may have overflow incontinence. This type of incontinence may be related to nerve damage due to an underlying condition, such as diabetes or prostate issues. 

Mixed incontinence

Mixed incontinence is a combination of other types of urinary incontinence, most often stress incontinence and urge incontinence. 

Functional incontinence

Functional incontinence is caused by something outside of your urinary tract, such as a mental impairment or a physical issue that prevents you from getting to the bathroom quickly enough when you need to urinate. 

Treating urinary incontinence

Dr. Seskin will discuss your medical history with you and suggest a treatment plan. Depending on the cause of your urinary incontinence, there are a variety of treatment options.

Sometimes, your urinary incontinence can be controlled with simple lifestyle changes. For example, there are some common foods and beverages that can stimulate or irritate your bladder. You may be able to limit the amount of caffeine you drink or stop consuming a particular type of sweetener and see improvement.

The best treatment plan will depend on your situation. If you have nerve damage due to diabetes, you’ll need a different plan than someone who has urinary incontinence because they’ve gone through menopause.

If you have urinary incontinence and need treatment, you can get help. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone with Floyd Seskin, MD today.

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