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Urinary Incontinence

The Facts on Urinary Incontinence

When someone is unable to control the ability to urinate and there's an involuntary loss of urine, this person is said to have urinary incontinence. This condition is also called "leaky bladder."

It's a very common problem, especially among older adults. As many as 30% of seniors living in the community and up to 50% of seniors living in nursing homes experience this condition. It generally affects more women than men until the age of 80.

Many people believe that urinary incontinence is a normal part of aging when in fact it's not. Others may be embarrassed to talk about incontinence with a health care professional. For these reasons, many people don't seek medical help and never get properly diagnosed or treated. In many cases, urinary incontinence can be cured, or at least significantly relieved.

Dr Felix believes: "You will never find HEALTH whilst focusing on illness and that is exactly what traditional Medicine does, it is ILLNESS focused!"

Causes of Urinary Incontinence

Practicing anti-aging and preventive medicine allows physicians to offer permanent solutions to help their patients achieve optimal health rather than just temporary treatments. Dr Soraya Felix also helps her patients develop a total wellness plan that includes advanced nutrition plans, anti-ageing protocols and bio- identical hormone therapy.

What is Anti-Ageing Medicine?

Loss of urine can occur for a number of reasons that are related to the bladder (where urine is stored in the body) or the bladder sphincter (a thick muscle that controls the flow of urine out of the bladder). Although aging itself doesn't cause incontinence, normal changes that occur in the urinary and genital systems as people age make this condition more common in the elderly.

For example, the bladder and the muscles that support it tend to sag with age, making it more difficult to store urine. Many medications taken by seniors for various medical conditions (e.g., high blood pressure, depression) can also increase bladder problems and lead to incontinence.

A common cause of temporary urinary incontinence is a urinary tract infection. Other causes of incontinence include severe constipation, delirium, depression, reduced mobility, and diabetes.

There are four types of urinary incontinence:

  • Stress incontinence;
  • Overflow incontinence;
  • Urge incontinence;
  • Functional incontinence.

Some people may have mixed incontinence, which is a combination of the four types. The most common combination is urge and stress incontinence. Incontinence can either be temporary (e.g., caused by infections or medications) or persistent (e.g., due to a stroke or multiple sclerosis).

Symptoms and Complications of Urinary Incontinence

A typical symptom is involuntary loss or leakage of urine. If you experience repeated episodes of urine leaks, it's important that you see your doctor as soon as possible. Many people with incontinence may feel embarrassed due to unpleasant odours. They may avoid going out with friends or family. This can lead to isolation and depression.

Incontinence, when left untreated and inadequately managed, can lead to rashes and other skin disorders. If overflow incontinence is not treated, it can lead to urinary tract infection. If severe enough, urinary retention can be a medical emergency.

Treating and Preventing Urinary Incontinence

In most people, incontinence can be successfully treated. If medications (e.g., water pills, certain antidepressants) or medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, atrophic vaginitis) are the root of the problem, then the medications may be discontinued or changed or the medical condition treated.

In people suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's disease, incontinence isn't always treatable. In these cases, wearing undergarments or using bedpans or urinary catheters (flexible tubes that allow for urination) can be helpful.

Treatment options depend on the type and cause of incontinence and include the following:

Kegel or pelvic floor exercises:  These exercises are helpful if you have stress or urge incontinence. They specifically target the muscles of the pelvic floor. By contracting the muscles that support the bladder, you strengthen and tighten the bladder outlet. Kegel exercises need to be done regularly and consistently to work. It may take up to 6 months to see the full benefit of Kegel exercises.

Combination of Kegel exercises and behaviour training:  These two therapies are sometimes combined with hypnosis or biofeedback. Treatments like these require a high level of determination and commitment, but the result is often worth the effort.

Medications:  When exercises and behaviour training don't work, our doctors may offer medication treatment. Some medications prevent bladder contractions, while others help increase bladder capacity.

Just because they are bio identical does not mean they are risk free, they are still hormones and should only be used under careful assessment and monitoring.