Knowing More About Stress Incontinence in Women
Women go through many changes in life, and even in young adulthood, they may experience stress incontinence (which is common in young women).
Stress incontinence in women is the loss of urine during physical activity without intention. It is an embarrassing moment for the woman, but, one, that many are aware of, and many women seek help.
Stress incontinence in women is caused by the weakening of the sphincter pelvic muscles. When the muscles of the bladder and urethra weaken, the pelvic muscles no longer have the support which is needed and when the sphincter feels pressure the flow of urine is no longer preventable.
This pressure can be due to something as simple as a laugh or cough or the movement of something heavy.
There are many reasons why the sphincter does not function properly which include:
* Surgery in the pelvic region or prostate area
* Some medication
* Injury to the urethra area
For women who have had vaginal delivery or more than one pregnancy, stress incontinence is more common. Women who suffer from their rectum, urethra or bladder sticking out into the vagina, are also victims.
Females will find that there are stress factors that they may be vulnerable to, which include:
* Getting older
* Coughing over a long period of time
* Being female
Symptoms of Stress Incontinence In Women
Obviously, the most recognized symptom of the condition is the loss of urine without intention. This can occur when the woman is:
* Having intercourse
* Taking part in a physical activity
How is Stress Incontinence Diagnosed?
A diagnosis of stress incontinence will include a physical exam, which includes:
* Rectal exam
* Pelvic exam in women
* Genital exam in men
Yes, men can suffer from stress incontinence, as well, although it is not as common. There are contributing factors to both sexes, and these factors include obesity, aging and coughing over a long period of time.
Upon the physical exam of women, physicians may find that the urethra or bladder is bulging into the vagina.
Tests that the woman may undergo include:
* X-rays with contrast dye of the kidneys and bladder
* Urinary stress test
* Urine culture or analysis to dismiss urinary tract infection
* Test to view the inside of the bladder
* Tests to measure pressure and urine flow
* Post void residual to measure the amount of urine left after urination
* Pelvic or abdominal ultrasound
* Pad test
Treatment for Stress Incontinence
Treatment will vary depending on the severity of the case. Different men and women experience different symptoms and what your physician recommends and prescribes will differ.
You can expect that if you are a smoker you are asked to stop. If you enjoy a cocktail or two or more, you will be asked to eliminate them from your consumption. You’ll also be asked to avoid caffeinated beverage.
Your doctor may also ask you to keep a urinary diary that allows you to track and monitor the times you urinate during the day and night and when you leak urine.
Treatment for stress incontinence in women includes four different treatments, which include:
* Pelvic floor muscle training
* Behavior changes
Behavior changes will be recommended that will help to reduce stress incontinence and what is suggested may include:
* Avoid running or jumping which may cause a leak in the urine
* Make frequent trips to the bathroom to reduce urine leaks
* Drink less fluid
* Include dietary fiber or laxatives in your diet to make your bowel movements more regular
* Quit smoking to eliminate cough and bladder irritation
* Keep blood sugar levels under control if you have diabetes
* Avoid food and drinks that irritate the bladder
* Lose weight if you have a few pounds or more
* Avoid alcohol and caffeine
Exercise, medications and surgeries can help the condition, which include:
* Pelvic floor muscles training
* Medications, such as, imipramine, alpha-adrenergic, ant muscarinic drugs, and anticholinergic drugs
* Surgeries may also be required which include vaginal sling procedures, tension-free vaginal tape, collagen injections, artificial urinary sphincter, anterior vaginal repair and more.
* Surgery is most often the last resort.
Stress Incontinence Outlook
Symptoms of stress incontinence in women are improved with behavior changes, medications and pelvic floor exercise therapy. However, the only treatment for stress incontinence that may cure patients is surgery.