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Urge Incontinence


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Urge incontinence is sudden urge to pass urine but the urine leaks before you actually start urinating. It’s an involuntary occurrence. It’s also known by other medical terminologies like overactive bladder, spasmodic bladder or detrusor instability.


Symptoms of urge incontinence

As said before, the one and only symptom is leakage of urine when you get the urge to pass urine. It can happen anywhere and anytime. It’s one of the most common forms of incontinence.

The frequency of urge incontinence differs from one individual to other. The activity can increase during night and urine might leak while sleeping (nocturia). Women usually experience urge incontinence during an extended orgasm while having sex.

Who suffers from urge incontinence?
  • It is more common in women than in men
  • Mostly older age group people have this problem
  • Men with prostate cancer and prostate surgery
  • Obese men and women
  • Men and women with UTIs
  • During pregnancy or after C section


What causes urge incontinence?

Overactive bladder means the detrusor muscles present on the bladder wall contract very often, which triggers an urgent need to pass urine. And this contraction can be abnormal and so forceful that urine can leak out of the urethra. The possible reasons behind problematic bladder are:
  • Irritation in bladder, urinary tract infection
  • Over hydration
  • Side effects of blood pressure medicines, muscle relaxants and sedatives
  • Nerve diseases like multiple sclerosis, dementia and Parkinson’s disease
  • IBS, bladder cancer, stones in bladder
  • Weak pelvic muscles
  • Stroke, spinal cord injury


Diagnosis of urge incontinence

Diagnosis will begin with checking the medical history. Your doctor will ask you about your urinary habits and evaluate the symptoms.

You need to tell your doctor if you are taking any medicines.

You need to undergo urine test to rule out urinary tract infection and urodynamic studies to measure pressure and flow of urine.

The doctor will test the strength of the pelvic muscles by physically examining the vagina and through digital rectal exam.

Ultrasound of the bladder and cystoscopy may also be carried out by your doctor. Apart from all these, you will be asked to maintain a bladder diary which will include details of your fluid intake and frequency of urination and urge incontinence episodes.


Treatment for urge incontinence

If any abnormality in the bladder or urinary infection has been found, then the first measure would be to cure the underlying cause.
Medicines that are usually prescribed to relax the muscles of the bladder and control spasms are anticholinergic drugs, tricyclic antidepressants, Flavoxate, etc.

Other than those, doctors recommend behavioural therapies which significantly improve urge incontinence in both men and women.

Surgery is opted for only when other measures fail and is usually performed on individuals with severe incontinence. They aim at reducing pressure on bladder and increasing bladder volume.


Alternate therapies for urge incontinence
  • Biofeedback therapies which include bladder control training, timed voiding schedules, urge suppression techniques and Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles
  • Doctors also suggest modification in fluid intake and consumption of foods. You may be asked to avoid carbonated drinks, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, spicy foods, etc.

You will definitely experience improvement in bladder function once you practise the self-care therapies properly. Listen to your doctor’s advice and try to be more conscious about your eating and drinking habits to get over urge incontinence.

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Symptoms of overactive bladder

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: February 12, 2014

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