Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control. Many Americans suffer from it, yet exactly how many is unclear since many don’t talk to their doctors about symptoms. They often feel embarrassed or think that it’s just part of getting older.
A symptom of many conditions, urinary incontinence is neither a disease nor just a medical problem. Urinary incontinence can affect emotional, psychological and social life. In fact, it can prevent a person from doing many normal daily activities – they’re simply afraid of being too far away from a restroom.
People who suffer from urinary incontinence may experience occasional, minor leaks of urine or more frequent small to moderate amounts. It often depends on the type of urinary incontinence:
One of the most common types of urinary incontinence, SUI occurs when weak pelvic muscles let urine escape when pressure is exerted onto the bladder. It may be caused by exercise, walking, bending, lifting, or even sneezing and coughing. The amount of urine varies from a few drops to a tablespoon or more. SUI is more common in older women and less common in men.
OAB is a sudden, intense urge to urinate that you can't control.
With mixed incontinence, you have both SUI and OAB. You leak urine with activity (SUI) and often feel the urge to urinate (OAB).
Overflow Incontinence describes a frequent or constant dribbling of urine due to a bladder that doesn't empty completely. It’s more common in men with prostate issues.
If urinary incontinence is frequent or affecting your quality of life, discuss it with your Summa Health Medical Group urologist, no matter how uncomfortable you may feel.