Unintentional leakage of urine is not only embarrassing, but it also poses threat to your health.
What we usually refer to as urinary incontinence is an involuntary leakage of urine at any given point of time.
A person with urinary incontinence cannot hold urine in the bladder because voluntary control over urinary sphincter is either lost or weakened. Urinary incontinence is a more common problem than what people know. So, what could be the cause?
Incontinence happens when the pressure you feel inside your bladder when it is full becomes greater than the strength of your urethra to stay closed. Urethra is the tube through which urine passes out of the body, and it cannot stay closed because of these reasons:
- Damaged or weakened pelvic floor muscles.
- Damaged urethral sphincter, which is the ring of muscle that keeps urethra closed.
Activities like sneezing that exert pressure on the bladder can cause urine to leak out of your urethra. Some other causes include:
- Damage in the nerve during childbirth
- Increased pressure on the tummy caused by pregnancy or excessive weight
- Lack of the hormone oestrogen in women
Who is at risk?
There are several factors that can trigger urinary incontinence in a person. These include:
Gender: Women are at a higher risk of stress incontinence. Factors such as pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and the normal female anatomy make women more vulnerable to the condition. Men who experience prostate gland problems can also feel an increased urge and incontinence.
Age: As a person ages, muscles in the bladder and urethra lose their strength. Ageing also reduces the amount of fluid that bladder can control and increases the chances of involuntary urine flow.
Being overweight: Piling on extra weight on your body increases pressure on the bladder and its surrounding muscles. The extra pressure weakens muscles and leads to fluid leakage when you cough or sneeze.
Other diseases: Neurological diseases or diabetes can increase your risk of urinary incontinence.
Complications of urinary incontinence
There are several complications associated with urinary incontinence, and they include:
Skin problems: Incontinence leads to constantly wet skin which can cause rashes, skin infections and sores.
Urinary tract infections: Incontinence increases risk of repeated urinary tract infections.
Effect on personal life: Urinary incontinence can have adverse effects on your social, personal and professional life.
Image source: Getty Images
Read more on Understand Urinary Incontinence.
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