Uncomfortable, unpleasant, and sometimes painful, urinary leakage affects both women and men. What is urinary incontinence? What are the signs and possible causes of urinary leakage? And what to do in case of incontinence? We answer all your questions!
What is urinary leakage?
Urinary leakage, also called incontinence, is the inability to voluntarily hold urine. There are 3 types of urinary incontinence.
Stress incontinence is the result of weakened muscles in the perineum. In this first case, urine loss occurs when you run, cough or laugh. The second form of urinary leakage is called urgency. Here, incontinence is a pathology of the bladder that contracts abnormally and causes an uncontrolled urge to urinate; without you having time to get to the bathroom. The third type of incontinence is mixed. It is both a leakage on effort and an involuntary urge to urinate.
When to suspect urinary incontinence
Urinary leakage is relatively easy to detect. Indeed, when you notice that your urges to urinate are different from your habits, you can think of incontinence.
However, it is important to take the time to observe the occurrence of leakage and, above all, whether it is really leakage. For example, if you drink more water than usual, you will naturally feel a stronger urge to urinate.
However, the signs of urinary incontinence are quite specific. The first is the involuntary loss of urine.
What are the possible causes of urine leakage?
Urine leakage can be urge incontinence. That is, when the bladder is abnormally sensitive, even though it is not full, the muscle contraction is triggered and you feel the need to urinate. This phenomenon can be the result of an underlying pathology such as a urinary tract infection, the presence of polyps in the bladder, urinary stones, etc.
Age and menopause
The primary risk factor for urinary incontinence, and more specifically urgency, is age. Indeed, after 50 years of age, the body undoubtedly ages. Muscle relaxation in the perineum is inevitable and bladder dysfunction leads to urine leakage.
However, incontinence can occur at any age, in both men and women. However, in women, the hormonal changes of menopause also lead to muscle relaxation of the perineum.
Pregnancy and childbirth
Among the other most common risk factors, repeated deliveries and pregnancies are also conducive to bladder weakness: the weight of the baby puts pressure on the bladder and the pelvic floor. This causes the leakage to start.
What to do in case of urinary leakage?
Urinary incontinence can have repercussions on private, social and professional life. Therefore, as soon as the first symptoms appear, it is important to inform your doctor or your gynecologist. This allows for rapid and appropriate treatment depending on the cause of your incontinence. You can also be referred to a urologist if necessary.
For the screening and diagnosis of incontinence, the doctor will conduct a clinical medical examination. This questionnaire lists, for example, the frequency of leakage, the quantity of urine, the context in which the incontinence occurs, the discomfort you feel, the consequences on your social life, etc.
In the case of a pregnant woman, the gynecologist examines the tone of the perineum and indicates the different hygiene rules to be respected until the delivery.
What are the solutions and treatments for bladder weakness?
Depending on the cause of urinary incontinence, there are several types of treatment.
Medication or surgery is recommended when the doctor diagnoses a pathology of the bladder or the urinary system. Perineo-sphincter re-education can also be prescribed in order to tone up the muscles of the perineum. This consists of electrostimulation sessions with a physiotherapist or midwife. Depending on the cause of the urine leakage, the doctor may also prescribe hormonal treatments.
Bladder weakness can therefore have several causes. Rapid medical attention is essential in order to set up treatments and support that will relieve you of your incontinence.