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The Underlying Causes of Urinary Incontinence in Women

Incontinence-in-Women

Many health conditions affect women. One of them is urinary incontinence, and women usually don’t prefer to talk about it. However, it is a common condition seen in many women, which is caused by many factors. Leaking while doing regular activities or being unable to reach the bathroom before urine starts trickling out are some of the symptoms associated with it. Urinary incontinence can be due to different physical problems or certain underlying medical conditions. Urinary incontinence is mainly of two types – Stress Urinary Incontinence and Urgency Incontinence. Both types can be observed in the same person. But, each type of incontinence is caused by a different reason, and therefore, it should be treated differently.

Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)

It is the leakage that occurs while sneezing, coughing, laughing or any other regular activity which increases the pressure in your belly. It is due to a mechanical problem with your urethra. SUI occurs when the muscles supporting part of the bladder and urethra become weak due to any reason. In the absence of enough support, the bladder and the urinary tract muscles cannot contract normally, to either start or stop the urine flow. Therefore, leakage occurs. There are quite a few reasons why the muscles become weak, leading to incontinence.

Chronic Sneezing or Coughing

Any condition which causes chronic sneezing or coughing or lifestyle habits such as smoking can cause persistent cough can lead to leakage over time.

Obesity

If you are obese or overweight, your body exerts more pressure on your bladder, which again causes incontinence. Since the urethral sphincter holds urine, any pressure on it will lead to more chances of a leak.

Heavy Exercise

This is often seen in healthy young women and fitness freaks. Lifting weights does not cause incontinence by itself, but regular lifting puts more pressure on the urethra.

Hormonal Deficiency

Estrogen, a female sex hormone, helps in keeping the muscles around the bladder and urethra strong. After menopause, some women experience stress urinary incontinence because reduced levels of estrogen weaken the vaginal tissues that become thinner.

The Age Factor

In addition to weaker vaginal muscles, as you get older, the bladder muscles also become more vulnerable, resulting in urinary leakage often.

Pregnancy and Childbirth

It is a prevalent cause of urinary incontinence. The hormones and extra weight on the uterus during pregnancy can cause SUI. Pressure during vaginal delivery may further weaken the tissues and muscles supporting the urethra and balder, and it may even lead to prolapse. All these can lead to incontinence in women.

Hysterectomy

If you have undergone surgery to remove your uterus, it may affect some of the surrounding muscles and tissues that control the bladder. As a result, you may end with urinary incontinence.

Urgency Incontinence

This type of incontinence occurs when there is a leak during a sudden urge, and they cannot control it. It is not an anatomical condition but a symptom. However, when there is excessive urination, it could be a sign of overactive bladder.

If you are suffering from urgency incontinence, it means there is some underlying cause, such as chronic health issues or temporary blockage in the urinary tract. Here are a few factors or reasons that can result in urgency incontinence in women.

Metabolic Disorders

High glucose levels in your body will result in more production of urine. Therefore, if you have poorly controlled diabetes, it can even cause nerve damage and signaling issues, which leads to urinary incontinence.

Constipation

Constipation is another reason for urinary incontinence among women. It can affect the nerves in the bladder, affecting signaling and causing urinary incontinence.

Neurological Conditions

Multiple sclerosis is one such neurological problem that can cause urinary incontinence. About 5 percent of people with multiple sclerosis are diagnosed when they visit the doctor for urinary incontinence.

Urinary Tract Infections

Painful infections result in a tendency, or an intense urge to pee can cause leakage. You need to approach a doctor if incontinence is accompanied by any burning sensation, which could be a sign of UTI.

Stones in the Kidney

If there are stones in your kidney, it blocks normal urine flow, and this may lead to overflow incontinence as the bladder cannot empty itself, causing leakage.

Tumors

Although a rare occurrence, you can have tumors in the bladder. Should this happen, it can obstruct the flow of urine, causing an incomplete evacuation. As a result, you may suffer from leakage.

Urinary incontinence is a condition where women seldom open up with their physicians, despite millions of women in the US experiencing urinary leakage. This is primarily because women feel embarrassed about the condition. It is crucial to generate awareness that it is common, and they need to approach doctors, without hesitation. Otherwise, it may get worse, with more weakening of muscles and tissues surrounding the urethra.

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