Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine which occurs when urine leaks out of the bladder and cannot be controlled. It is an extremely embarrassing problem for many, therefore, they fail to seek help. Experts estimate that more than 80% can overcome the problem.
Most cases of incontinence can be controlled or cured. It is not a disease, but a symptom of an underlying health problem or condition, such as weak muscles in the pelvic floor or an obstruction of the bladder outflow.
There are 5 basic types of urinary incontinence, which include:
1. Stress incontinence, which is a condition when small amounts of urine dribble out when you laugh, cough, sneeze, exercise, lift, squat or move in ways that puts additional stress on the bladder. Most of these events are associated with weak muscles in the pelvic floor.
2. Urge incontinence most often involves the loss of large amounts of urine with little warning. It occurs so quickly that there is not enough time to make it to the bathroom. Causes can be from Parkinson’s disease, stroke, bladder infection or kidney or bladder stones.
3. Overflow incontinence involves constant dribbling, or continuing to dribble for some time after you have passed urine. The urine overflows and spills out when you shift positions or stand up. You will feel the need to urinate again in a few minutes, but can not empty the bladder completely. Weak bladder muscles or a blocked urethra can cause this type of incontinence. It sometimes occurs following a bladder suspension operation or pelvic surgery. An enlarged prostate can contribute as well.
4. Reflex incontinence involves involuntary, spontaneous urination. There are no urges, no warnings and no rush to the bathroom. This lack of bladder control is caused by diabetes, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and other serious medical conditions.
5. Functional incontinence strikes those who have normal bladder warnings and control but cannot reach the bathroom in time due to physical limitations.
Additionally, there is temporary incontinence, which can be caused by medication and/or the use of diuretics.
Many people with loss of bladder control simply have lost the muscle tone in their pelvic floor. The easiest way to tone and strengthen the pelvic floor is by doing the Kegel exercise. Here are the steps:
1. To locate the appropriate muscles; repeatedly stop your urine in midstream. The muscles you feel squeeze around your urethra and anus are the muscles you want to work on.
2. Practice squeezing and relaxing these muscles several times a day when urinating. Once you are familiar with them, practice when you are not urinating.
3. During this exercise, squeeze for three seconds, relax for three seconds. Repeat 10 to 15 times. Do three or 4 sessions each day.
The following natural supplements may also be helpful:
Magnesium plus Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps to correct muscle weakness and improves bladder control, but - it increases the need for magnesium. Take 200 to 600 milligrams of magnesium, plus 25 to 100 milligrams of B6.
Vitamin C plus niacin have proven beneficial when taken in divided doses each day. Take 500 to 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C, plus up to 150 milligrams of niacin.
Vitamin E works with vitamin A to normalize bladder function. Take 600 IU of vitamin E daily.
Black cohosh may help strengthen the muscles in the pelvic floor. It has mild estrogen effects, meaning it acts like the female hormone estrogen. Commercial products are available at herb shops. Follow the packaging directions.
Cranberry juice is acidic and low in ash and is well known as having health benefits to the bladder. In addition, it helps deodorize urine. Those with urinary incontinence may want to introduce cranberry juice into their diets to reduce embarrassing odor.
Urinary incontinence is a nuisance, but it does not have to be. The combination of your doctor’s advice and simple home remedies can help you manage the problem and continue your normal daily activities.