OK, ladies. Here’s the truth. You’re not the only one out there! One in three adult women are affected by urinary incontinence at some point in their lives. Knowing that and understanding that you’re in good company is the first step to living better with bladder leaks.
Here’s the next step: understand the issue! On its most basic level, incontinence is defined as the involuntary loss of urine, but there are different kinds of incontinence. Incontinence affects different women in different ways for varying reasons.
Incontinence can be caused by anything from pregnancy to menopause, strenuous physical activities or even a medical condition. Here are the most common types of incontinence. Which one sounds most like you?
This type of incontinence is also known as overactive bladder and is the result of nerve or muscle damage in the bladder tissue. This causes involuntary spasms in the bladder that create a sudden and intense urge to urinate. You may or may not make it to the toilet on time. You may even feel a strong urge to go even when there is no urine in your bladder. It can happen to anyone at any age. See your doctor about managing your urge incontinence. He or she may suggest that you adopt a bladder-friendly diet free of spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol that is also low-sugar in order to eliminate foods that can further irritate your bladder. A number of behavioural changes can also help with this type of incontinence.
Stress incontinence is the result of a weakened pelvic floor – the system of muscles, ligaments, and nerves that supports your bladder, uterus, and anus that helps control the urinary sphincter, which is responsible for closing off the bladder and regulating urine flow. As a result, urine leaks out when pressure – or stress – is exerted on the pelvic floor during everyday activities like sneezing, coughing, laughing, or exercise. This is one of the types of incontinence that is even more common in younger women than older women. It is mostly caused by pregnancy. Another risk factor is being overweight and age. Performing pelvic floor exercises on a regular basis will help alleviate symptoms of stress incontinence. Losing weight can also help if that is a concern for you.
Wearing an ALWAYS DISCREET liner or pad will keep you leak and odour-free for the confidence to continue doing the things you love despite little leaks of urine.
Overflow incontinence is caused by a bladder that cannot fully empty due to an obstruction – such as a tumour, polyp, or urinary stone – or muscle weakness. Pressure from an overly full bladder creates a constant dribble of urine, even though you may not feel the urge to go. Overflow incontinence is the only type of incontinence that is more common in men than women. See your doctor for help diagnosing any underlying issue that may be causing overflow incontinence. He or she may also prescribe medications or surgical devices that can help manage the condition.
A combination of stress, urge, or overflow incontinence symptoms. The most common type of mixed incontinence among women is a combination of stress and urge incontinence.
If a physical or cognitive disability prevents you from getting to the bathroom on time, you may have functional incontinence. This type of incontinence is best remedied by wearing incontinence products like ALWAYS DISCREET underpants. They are ultra thin and absorb up to a full bladder's worth of urine, locking it away in an absorbent gel core to keep you dry and comfortable.
Total incontinence causes continuous and uncontrollable bladder leaks, usually as a result of a birth defect or a spinal cord injury. Speak with your doctor if you are facing total incontinence. Wearing ALWAYS DISCREET underpants will keep you dry and comfortable without the bulk of other incontinence products.
Don’t Stop Here
To understand your own personal incontinence issues as best as possible, talk to your doctor. You should never feel embarrassed about bringing it up. The conversation will be worth it! Your doctor may be able to cure it, treat it or at least help you manage bladder leaks better.