Urinary incontinence risk factors
There are certain risk factors that may increase your chances of experiencing urinary incontinence.
Some of these factors are:
- Being constipated: Constipation has a direct effect on your ability to empty your bladder fully or the urgent feelings to urinate
- Being overweight: Many studies have linked obesity to urinary incontinence. The extra weight especially around your abdomen puts additional pressure on your bladder and can cause leakage events.
- Smoking: A persistent smokers cough increases the pressure on your pelvic floor muscles causing you to leak urine. (This is known as stress incontinence.)
- Pregnancy and life changes: Traumatic or prolonged vaginal deliveries can disrupt the muscles and nerves use to control the bladder. Menopause can change the moisture levels in the vagina and urethra preventing proper closure of the bladders exit valves.
- Older People: In the latter stages of life you are more likely to experience physical changes and chronic health issues. These changes can contribute to the development of urinary incontinence.
- Drinking Alcohol: Alcohol increases the amount of urine you produce and can cause the muscles around the bladder to relax, both of which can increase bladder leakage.
Obtaining the correct diagnosis is an important step before you and your health professional can select any treatment. To give your health professional the best possible information, go to Treatments for Incontinence to obtain examples and instructions on how to collect this vital information.
When you see the doctor or nurse they may choose to perform a bladder ultrasound or physical examination to assess the strength of a women’s pelvic floor muscles or the size of the man’s prostate.
Living with urinary incontinence
The first thing you should know is that every type of urinary incontinence is treatable. Urinary incontinence is something that you shouldn’t feel embarrassed talking to your GP about. The chances are you have many friends with the same problem so talk to them and encourage each other to seek help. Regardless of your incontinence type start by doing regular pelvic floor exercises. These simple exercises can be done anywhere and at any time. You do not have to join a gym and you can do them surrounded by people who would never know you were busy doing these exercises.
Go to Treatments for Incontinence to obtain examples and instructions on how to perform pelvic floor exercises or speak to a Continence Physiotherapist or Continence Nurse Advisor. These allied health professionals can personally guide you. Call the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66, they can provide you with the names of your local Continence Physiotherapist or Continence Nurse Advisor. Doing regular pelvic floor exercises will help lessen the severity of your incontinence and improve the reliability of your bladder.
Depend products can offer you a simple way to protect yourself from any social embarrassment. The first trick is to be prepared, carry a spare incontinence product, usually in the form of absorbent guards or underwear specifically designed for urinary incontinence (Depend has a wide variety of incontinence products that you may like to look at).