Gaining an Understanding of Female Incontinence
Female incontinence also commonly referred to as urinary incontinence is a bladder control issue and condition where urine leaks involuntarily when you cough, laugh or take part in a strenuous activity.
Female incontinence is more common in older women and women who have given birth. Women are twice more likely to suffer from urinary incontinence as compared to men.
Incontinence can occur as a result of damage to the muscles that help control the flow of urine such as the pelvic wall or the sphincter which is the muscle that enables the bladder to close.
If the pelvic wall is weakened as a result of strained childbirth, an accident that causes damage to the pelvis area or as a result of aging, it will not be able to hold up the bladder so that the bladder slips from its position and moves towards the vagina and this weight eventually weakens the sphincter which leads to incontinence.
There are women who develop incontinence as a result of a condition known as a neurogenic bladder whereby the sphincter muscles become overactive and cannot adequately control the bladder. This is as a result of neurological issues and conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, strokes, spinal cord injuries and others.
The development of incontinence will result in either stress incontinence, functional incontinence, urge incontinence or overflow incontinence. Stress incontinence occurs as a result of pressure and stress being placed on the bladder so that incontinence is triggered.
This stress can be laughing, coughing or sneezing. Functional incontinence is where a lady is unable to go to the bathroom on time because of a physical or mental impairment. In this case her urinary system is perfectly fine but she is unable to go to the bathroom because she is physically unable as in the case of a physically disabled person or mental disability where the person cannot recognize the fact that they need to go to the bathroom.
Urge incontinence is where the sphincter muscles are neurogenic and there is a strong urge to use the bathroom and before you can go, you have already urinated. Overflow incontinence is when you are unable to completely empty your bladder when you go to the bathroom because the sphincter muscles are weak.
With time, the bladder will get over full so that it leaks. It may also be as a result of a blockage in the urethra which is the tube that drains urine from the bladder or nerve damage so that the nerves are unable to send a message to the brain that the bladder is full causing leaking.
To help deal with the problem of female incontinence there are medications available, natural methods such as using exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles, in some extreme cases you can opt to have surgery or you can use adult diapers and dryness aids.
Medications work to lessen the urge to urinate so that you have fewer episodes of leaking. These medications must be prescribed by a urologist or a doctor.
For exercise you can do kegel exercises which are used to strengthen the pelvic walls so that you are able to hold in the urine even when the urge to use that bathroom arises. Kegel exercise work on the pelvic floor muscles and you can locate them by; you stop urinating midstream.
The muscles that you will feel tighten are the pelvic floor muscles and you can exercise them constantly by tightening and releasing them so that they are strengthened. Do as many Kegel exercises as you can in a day.
You can also learn bladder control by not going to the bathroom every time you feel the urge. The aim of this is to train your bladder to hold the urine in for longer periods of time so that you don’t have as many episodes of incontinence.
Surgery is often used as a last option in many cases. Dryness aids and diapers are designed to hold large amounts of liquid and some have a chemical so that when you leak, the urine is turned into a solid or a gel so that you remain dry. There are also inserts that work as a plug and are inserted in the urethra.