Urinary incontinence is a loss of bladder control, leading to leaking urine and wetting accidents. Stress incontinence can occur when you sneeze, exercise or laugh, while urge incontinence can occur suddenly and without warning. More than 17 billion Americans have urinary incontinence, and both men and women can suffer from it. However, females are much more likely to develop urinary incontinence than men due to certain causes that are unique to females.
Pregnancy, childbirth and menopause all have an effect on the urinary tract and muscles surrounding it. These situations lead to bladder control complications because they can cause the pelvic floor muscles to become weak or damaged. When the muscles are weakened enough, you may experience leakage issues that you can’t control.
Pregnancy: Urinary incontinence is pretty common in pregnant women. This is because the unborn baby puts pressure on the bladder, urethra and pelvic floor muscles as it grows. This can weaken those muscles and lead to difficulty controlling the bladder. The good news is that incontinence often goes away soon after childbirth.
Childbirth: Childbirth can weaken and damage the pelvic floor muscles, especially if there are complications during labor. After giving birth, it’s common for women to experience stress incontinence. Once the pelvic floor muscles have had a few months to heal, problems with incontinence usually clear up or improve on their own.
Menopause: As women go through menopause, it may become difficult to control the bladder. This is because estrogen levels decrease, pelvic floor muscles become weaker and the lining of the urethra starts to thin. It’s also worth noting that incontinence is more common in older adults in general.
Urinary incontinence can be embarrassing, and those with it may suffer from depression or anxiety. Some women even distance themselves from friends and family, avoid social situations and struggle with sexual issues due to the fear of having an accident. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel though—treatment options are available. These options include Kegel exercises, lifestyle changes, medication, biofeedback and surgery. If you’re ready to get back to doing the things you love, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Remember, urinary incontinence is common and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of.
At Arkansas Urology, we’re here for you. Our patients’ health has been and will always be our top priority! Do you need to schedule an appointment? Contact us today or book your appointment online. We look forward to seeing you soon.