Tue | Jul 23, 2019

Loss of Bladder Control: Simple Concern or Not?

Published:Monday | May 13, 2019 | 12:24 AM

It’s a common and often embarrassing condition. It may come on as a trickle after a sneeze or cough. Or a sudden urge to urinate that releases itself before you make it to the bathroom. Sounds familiar, ladies? You may think it’s nothing more than mere urine leakage, and certainly not worth mentioning to your doctor. But is it?

Urinary incontinence is the term for this malady in the medical world. Gynaecologist Dr Kiri-an Bridgewater explains that both men and women are susceptible to the involuntary leakage. However, childbirth through vaginal delivery, pregnancy, and menopause in older women put females at a greater risk of losing control of the bladder.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of, she stressed, but cautions against leaving it untreated.

“If you believe you are suffering from urinary incontinence, you should bring it to your doctor’s attention. While it may not always be something serious, it is always something to look into,” the doctor explained.

WHY THERE IS A LEAKAGE

The doctor expressed that ‘simple’ occurrences such as urinary tract infections and pregnancy can bring on urinary incontinence at any time. Still, more severe conditions, including bladder prolapse (that is when the bladder comes down through the vagina) and prostate enlargement in men, have the same effect.

“Other things that can make you more vulnerable include urinary tract infections, being overweight or obese, smoking and medical conditions that can affect the nerves that help your bladder to function properly, namely diabetes,” she told Flair.

She added: “Your diet, too, is a trigger. Consuming substances that irritate the bladder will increase your risk. Alcohol, caffeine, and sodas are famous for this.”

REGAINING CONTROL

No matter how mild or severe you think the condition is, it’s never too early or late to seek help. The collaborative efforts of you and your doctor will help you to get back on track.

First, your doctor has to assess the type of incontinence that you have. There are four types: overflow, urge, stress, and functional. All are accompanied with varying symptoms, so ensure that you speak with your doctor about your symptoms.

This sets the tone for identifying the causes and deciding on the treatment options. A simple lifestyle change can make things right again. Pelvic floor exercises usually do the trick, but many times antibiotics or other medications are what patients need. Though, at times, surgery is the only option you may have.

“Pelvic floor exercises such as Kegel exercises are particularly useful in women to prevent stress incontinence. They help to strengthen the muscles that support the bladder and keep it in place so that when there is increased pressure on the bladder – lifting objects or coughing – the bladder won’t leak any urine,” Dr Bridgewater said.

Surgeries are done particularly in cases of bladder prolapsing. Fortunately, it can often be corrected through the vagina without having to cut the abdomen.

Dr Kirian Bridgewater operates from The Physician’s Offices at the Andrews Memorial Hospital. She can be contacted at 876-428-5504.

rocheda.bartley@gleanerjm.com