Urinary Incontinence is the inability to control urination due to weakened pelvic muscles, some medications, the accumulation of stool in the bowels and other health problems such as diabetes and congestive heart failure. It is estimated that approximately twelve million adults in the United States suffer from this unpleasant condition and most of them are women over fifty but, certainly, not all.
Types of Urinary Incontinence
There are seven identifiable types of Urinary Incontinence and they are:
- Stress Incontinence – a small leakage of urine which occurs when pressure is applied to the lower stomach muscles such as during physical exertion, strenuous exercise or heavy lifting, or as a reaction to a sudden and abrupt jerking movement such as coughing, sneezing or hardy laughter.
- Urge Incontinence – A large leakage of urine which transpires unexpectedly during wakeful hour as well as during sleep and it is a condition by which the need to urinate is so pressing that there is no way of holding it long enough to make it to the toilet.
- Overflow Incontinence – A small leakage of urine when the bladder gets full.
- Functional Incontinence – This is urination before reaching the toilet and it may be due to a physical disability or some external obstacle. It may also be due to problematic thinking or communicating that led to a delay in getting to the toilet.
- Overactive Bladder – A urinary frequency with urgency and it may go hand-in-hand with Urge Incontinence or without.
- Transient – This is a temporary condition in which leakage of urine occurs due to an infection, some new medications or an illness.
- Mixed – A combination of any two or more of the above Urinary Incontinence conditions but it most frequently appears as a combination of the Stress plus the Urge Incontinence.
Training the Bladder
There is a way to control Urinary Incontinence, particularly the Stress Incontinence, Urge Incontinence or the Mixed Incontinence, and that is by training the bladder to reduce the frequency of trips to the toilet, to increase the bladder’s capacity to hold urine and to strengthen the control over the urge to urinate.
Currently, there are three methods by which to train the bladder in order to decrease or eliminate Urinary Incontinence mishaps:
- Kegel Exercises – Named after Dr. Arnold Kegel, these exercises strengthen and tone the muscles which form part of the pelvic floor and these are the same muscles used to stop the flow of urine. The Kegel exercises are effective for women as well as for men and they are performed in the following way:
- Quick pumps beginning with 15 repetitions and working up to 100 repetitions twice daily.
- Contracting the muscles slowly, holding for five seconds and then releasing them slowly. This should be repeated 25 times twice daily.
- Slowly contracting muscles part of the way, pausing, contracting them a little more, pausing and then continuing the contraction to its maximum. This should be performed ten times and twice a day.
- Delay Urination – Works particularly well with Urge Incontinence and the object of this exercise is to postpone trips to the toilet. It should start with waiting five minutes and then slowly increasing it to ten minutes, fifteen minutes and so on, until the number of visits to the toilet are down to three or four per day.
- Scheduled bathroom trips – This exercise makes toilet visitations consistent and preset whether the urge is there or not.
There are other remedial steps which help Urinary Incontinence such as drugs, devices and dietary adjustments but these should all be discussed with a medical professional.