Fixing Your Leaky Faucets

Story: Maritza Manresa

Good news – Urinary Incontinence is treatable! You do not have to worry about accidents in public. Go ahead and book your theater tickets or travel plans. Fear of leaks will no longer deter you from enjoying an active social life.

There are certain things in life that people just do not like to talk about, as it is the case with urinary incontinence (UI). Urinary incontinence is the unintentional and involuntary leaking of urine. As it is the case with many other embarrassing problems, people affected with this condition are typically hesitant to ask questions and look for a solution to the problem, even with their own personal physician. While UI can be a problem for both men and women, it is twice as common in women as in men for reasons such as pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause. However, incontinence can also be a problem for both women and men as a result of birth defects, brain injury, neurological diseases, degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis, stroke, diabetes, and physical changes that occur as people age.

There are two common types of urinary incontinence. The most common type is stress incontinence. Urine can leak when you cough, sneeze or laugh, as well as when lifting heavy objects. It is called stress incontinence because the bladder is stressed as a result of the sphincter muscle being weak and not staying tight. The other type is urge incontinence which is caused by an overactive bladder. This is when you know you need to urinate but you are not able to hold it long enough to make to the restroom in time.

The normal process, when urinary incontinence is not an issue, is that urine is stored in the bladder ultimately being eliminated through a tube called the urethra. In order for this to happen, the muscles in in the wall of the bladder have to contract to force the urine out while at the same time the sphincter muscles, located around the urethra have to relax to the urine pass through and out of the body. However, if the bladder muscles all of a sudden contract or the sphincter muscles are weak and cannot hold back the urine, the result is incontinence.

Find out the latest on healthcare in our Sept. 2012 issue.

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