You’ve got guests gathered around the dinner table when one unleashes a side-splitting one-liner. Next thing you know, you’re in bouts of hysterical laughter. And you’ve got a river of urine flowing down your leg.
Urinary incontinence is hard. It’s embarrassing. And it’s unpredictable. When you can’t be sure when your bladder is going to bail on you, you have to get creative with ways to tame it. If you’ve been desperate to break free from the condition, this guide should provide some relief.
Urinary incontinence is a medical conditionthat results in the involuntary release of urine from the bladder (you know, like that all-familiar squirt of pee when you laugh or sneeze). The condition can be attributed to two possible causes: stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
Stress incontinence occurs when the bladder weakens following sudden movements like sneezing or lifting.
Urge incontinence is an outcome of an overactive bladder. The condition sends premature signals to your brain, giving you a sudden, uncontrollable urge to use the restroom.
Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medical inserts, filling agents or medication to give you relief.
Tweaking your daily routine to divert your attention away from your bladder may help control the condition.
Instead of having your bladder dictate when you whizz off to the toilet, put mind over matter and institute a bathroom schedule. Maintain a record of liquids you’re consuming throughout the day and set sacrosanct times for trips to the bathroom. Over time, and when you feel ready, you can increase the intervals between these trips to gradually train your bladder to hold more. Use deep breathing and meditation as tools to help you suppress the urgency of escaping to the bathroom.
The pelvic floor becomes weaker with age and gynaecological milestones like childbirth. Kegel floor exercises are gold for fortifying pelvic floor muscles and bolstering your bladder. Performed regularly, they can help you conquer your urges and feel more confident.
Cigarettes are a surefire way to fire up a cough. And we all know how coughing can blight your voluntary bladder control. When you cough incessantly, your bladder muscles become aggravated, leading you to lose control.
Medical devices inserted into the urethra can work wonders in abating urinary incontinence.
This is something like a tampon; a disposable device inserted into the urethra to help absorb any involuntary leaks.
A vaginal pessary – a ring-like support device – may be advised if your bladder has prolapsed. The device will be fitted by your doctor and can act as a buttress for your bladder. It is often the last resort before surgery.
Fillers like carbon beads and collagen are preferred lines of treatment for both stress and urge incontinence. Such fillers aid in plumping the tissues around the bladder, helping hold urine in. Fillers are given via injection and need to be re-administered at regular intervals.
There are various types of medication that may be recommended to you for urinary incontinence. Oestrogen replacement therapy, pseudoephedrine and Botox are some options. Aside from these, there is a host of other drugs designed to aid urge incontinence; most are tailored to ease spasms and calm the bladder.
Electrical pulses can help change the behaviour of your bladder, blocking premature prompts of urgency from your bladder to your brain. The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia.
Surgery is often resorted to as a last-line treatment measure when other incontinence management methods have been exhausted.
A sling procedure is when your doctor crafts a hammock made of mesh and tissue to hold up your urethra. The procedure is considered minor and is usually performed under local anaesthesia.
This is a surgical procedure typically employed when the uterus has prolapsed. It involves suturing the tissues around the bladder to give it a lift. If you suffer from urinary incontinence, it’s natural to feel trapped within your own body. Breaking free from your shackles hinges on effective and timely medical intervention. In that, lies your way out.
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