If you are experiencing the sudden need to urinate and encountering instances of involuntarily “leaking,” you may have a condition called urge incontinence, also known as overactive bladder.The root cause of urge incontinence is abnormal bladder contractions. There are muscles called sphincters that control the flow of urine from the bladder. However, if you are living with an overactive bladder, the muscles contract with too much force, overriding the sphincter muscles of the urethra (the tube in which urine exits the body). Diseases such as diabetes, MS, Parkinson’s, and the after-effects of a stroke, as well as something as simple as constipation, can all be causes to the damage on the sphincter.
Who is at Risk?
Doctor’s have found that the people who are at greater risk for urge incontinence are:
- Older adults
- Women who have had a C-section or other pelvic surgery
- People who are obese
- Men who have had prostate surgery or prostate conditions, such as enlarged prostate or prostatitis
- People with certain cancers, including the bladder and prostate
- People who are suffering from urinary tract infections
There are several treatment options to find relief. Everything ranging from behavioral treatments to medications, electrical stimulation or surgery. Depending on the individual a doctor may recommend a combination of treatments.
One behavioral therapy treatment you could try is biofeedback. There are two biofeedback techniques that have worked for others in the past, timed voiding and bladder training. To practice timed voiding, make up a chart to keep track of the times that you urinate as well as when you leak urine. Keeping a written journal will give help you to see any patterns in urination activity. Once you have an idea of what those patterns are you can “schedule” times to go to the bathroom throughout the day without loss of control.
An effective physical exercise to try is Kegel exercises, also called pelvic floor exercises. They aid in strengthening the muscles that surround the bladder, uterus, and bowels. Building strength in these muscles can, over time, reduce or prevent problems associated with urge incontinence.
Kegels are simple to do, just pretend you are trying to stop the flow of urine (although not when you are urinating, as this may hurt the bladder muscle) It’s like a sit-up for your pelvic muscles, contracting the pelvic floor. It is important to focus on not moving your legs, behind, or abdominal muscles. You should do these every day, 5 sets of 10 repetitions. Each time you contract the muscles hold the contraction for a slow count of five and then relax.
A Helpful Medical Supply
In the meantime, while you are trying both behavioral and physical remedies to gain more control over your bladder, there is a helpful medical supply you could try. If you live in a home where you don’t have a bathroom near you on each floor, or simply cannot get to the bathroom quick enough, you can use a bedside commode; a portable toilet chair that acts as a bedside toilet featuring a waste receptacle that is easy to remove and empty.