What are the differences among the various types of incontinence?

Do you go to the bathroom every time you enter a new building? Do you avoid traveling so you don't stop often? Do you fear long business meetings because of the urge to urinate?

A large number of Italians suffer from urinary incontinence or loss of bladder control, and women who have this problem are double that of men. Many women feel flustered when they have to talk to their doctor about these problems. They think it is only part of the aging process. While urinary incontinence is a problem that can be found at any age. But you don't have to suffer from it.

Once the problem is diagnosed, you can adapt a treatment plan to combat incontinence and go back to living your life peacefully. The treatment may involve some changes to your lifestyle and the taking of specific drugs.

There are many types of incontinence, but we can summarize them in five major categories:

Urge incontinence is an involuntary loss of urine, often preceded or in conjunction with the urgency of urination. In practice, there is a need to go to the bathroom but the urine cannot be retained before reaching the toilet. We have several options for treating this condition:

  • Change your lifestyle and follow a therapy
  • Take medications to prevent the bladder from contracting unexpectedly
  • Acupuncture
  • Botox injections into the bladder muscle
  • Stimulate the percutaneous nerve
  • Sacral neuromodulation

Stress incontinence, on the other hand, occurs during an effort: a cough, lifting weights, walking, but also laughing, can cause an involuntary loss of urine. In principle, it is mainly caused by the loss of support of the urethra, which is usually the result of damage to the muscles of the pelvic floor caused by childbirth or other.

Mixed incontinence, as the name implies, is a combination of the two previous types (urge and stress incontinence).

Functional incontinence occurs in people with cognitive or motor deficits. These deficits prevent you from urinating normally, even if the urinary system is intact and without any problem whatsoever. People who suffer from it feel the need to urinate, but cannot or do not want to reach the bathroom. Functional incontinence is often found in people affected by these conditions: Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, alcohol abuse, mobility disorders, depression or anxiety, and dementia.

Finally, nocturnal enuresis, or the involuntary loss of urine during sleep. Typical especially in children beyond the age in which bladder control was normally achieved. The age is variable, and our advice for parents is to get the child used to - before he is 2 years old - to anticipate the reflex with a voluntary contraction.

Causes of incontinence

The causes can be many and not necessarily age-related: pregnancy, menopause, obesity, prostate surgery or hysterectomies can contribute to its appearance.

If you think you suffer from incontinence, we recommend that you immediately contact your family doctor or specialist for specific advice.

You can find the most suitable aid for you here.

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