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Urinary incontinence is the unintentional passing of urine.
It's a common problem thought to affect millions of people. The severity ranges from occasionally leaking urine when you cough or sneeze to having an urge to urinate that's so sudden and strong you don't get to a toilet in time.
While age can play a role in the development of urinary incontinence, getting older does not mean that urinary leaks are an inevitable nuisance and therefore, not a real health concern.
Half of all women will experience issues in their lifetime - Pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause may contribute to urinary incontinence in women. This doesn’t mean that nothing can be done about it.
Stress incontinence is probably most common in women, where the abdominal muscles weaken due to coughing, sneezing and lifting puts pressure on the abdomen and causes urine to leak.
Apart from this, there is urgency incontinence, the inability to hold urine long enough to reach a restroom. It can also be associated with having to urinate often and feeling a strong, sudden urge to urinate.
When leakage occurs when the quantity of urine produced exceeds the bladder’s capacity to hold it, it is called overflow incontinence. Sometimes, due to an illness, injury or other conditions there is urine leakage due to a difficulty reaching a restroom in time, this is called functional incontinence.
Diagnosis of urinary incontinence may include, a physical exam followed by an ultrasound and in most cases residual urine analysis to check for signs of an infection or protein in the urine.
Urinary Incontinence Treatment and management
Treatments for urinary incontinence include pelvic floor exercises, lifestyle and diet changes and bladder training. However, there are several preventive methods that save the shame, embarrassment and stress that may be associated with having the condition.
Treatments could vary depending on severity of symptoms
In the last few years, there has been some innovation in this space - to combat urinary incontinence by providing discreet hygiene products from companies and startups like Attn Grace with eco-friendly pads, liners and briefs, speaxbythinx - an absorbent underwear for women, privywoman which makes a FDA cleared soft patch an over-the-counter product that prevents light to moderate bladder leaks before they happen.
Several innovations now address urinary incontinence through non-invasive treatments for the condition. Myinnovo is a device that helps treatment of urinary incontinence by making a wearable, non-invasive device that helps people treat their bladder leaks by strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor.