Bladder control problems (urinary incontinence) affects the day-to-day activities of approximately 4 million Australians. Urinary incontinence can affect people of any age, but it is more common as we get older. It has many different causes, and with the right treatment, can be well managed or possibly cured.
Symptoms of urinary incontinence:
- OVER REACTIVE BLADDER – Urinary frequency and urgency, with or without urge incontinence.
- STRESS – Leakage of small amounts of urine during physical movement (coughing, sneezing, exercising).
- OVERFLOW – Unexpected leakage of small amounts of urine because of a full bladder.
- FUNCTIONAL – Untimely urination because of physical disability, external obstacles, or problems in thinking or communicating that prevent a person from reaching a toilet.
- URGE – Leakage of large amounts of urine at unexpected times, including during sleep.
- TRANSIENT – Leakage that occurs temporarily because of a situation that will pass (infection, taking a new medication, colds with coughing).
Treatment of urinary incontinence:
- Talk to your Doctor if you have any concerns about bladder control.
- Ask your doctor to review your medicines. Your doctor may suggest a Home Medication Review, where a pharmacist visits you at your home to review all of your medication. Make sure you talk to your Doctor before stopping any medication.
- Weight loss can improve stress incontinence in obese or overweight women. Pelvic floor exercises can also benefit those with stress or mixed incontinence.
- Bladder training – this is the exercise where you gradually increase the interval between voiding, and should be considered for women with urge or mixed incontinence.
- Reducing caffeine intake may also help if you have urge incontinence. Ensure the bathroom is clearly identified.
Treatment of urinary incontinence depends on the cause of the problem. With the right treatment, urinary incontinence can be well managed, improved or possibly cured. For the best results, have symptoms regularly reviewed.