Urinary incontinence is the unintentional passing of urine. It's a common problem thought to affect millions of people.
There are several types of urinary incontinence, including:
It's also possible to have a mixture of both stress and urge urinary incontinence.
Read about the symptoms of urinary incontinence.
See your GP if you have any type of urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is a common problem and you shouldn't feel embarrassed talking to them about your symptoms.
This can also be the first step towards finding a way to effectively manage the problem.
Urinary incontinence can usually be diagnosed after a consultation with your GP, who will ask about your symptoms and may carry out a pelvic examination (in women) or rectal examination (in men).
Your GP may also suggest you keep a diary in which you note how much fluid you drink and how often you have to urinate.
Read about diagnosing urinary incontinence.
Stress incontinence is usually the result of the weakening ofor damage to the muscles used to prevent urination,such as the pelvic floor muscles and the urethral sphincter.
Urge incontinence is usually the result of overactivity of the detrusor muscles, which control the bladder.
Overflow incontinence is often caused by an obstruction or blockage to your bladder, which prevents itemptying fully.
Total incontinence may be caused by a problem with the bladder from birth, a spinal injury, or a bladder fistula.
Certain things can increase the chances of urinary incontinence developing, including:
Read about thecauses of urinary incontinence.
Initially, your GP may suggest some simple measures to see if they help improve your symptoms.
These may include:
You may also benefit from the use of incontinence products, such as absorbent pads and handheld urinals.
Medication may be recommended ifyou're still unable to manage your symptoms.
Readabout non-surgical treatments for urinary incontinence.
Surgerymay also be considered. The specific procedures suitable for you will depend on the type of incontinence you have.
Surgical treatments for stress incontinence, such as tape or sling procedures, are used to reduce pressure on the bladder or strengthen the muscles that control urination.
Operations to treat urge incontinence include enlarging the bladder or implanting a device that stimulates the nerve that controls the detrusor muscles.
Readabout surgery and procedures for urinary incontinence.
It's not always possible to prevent urinary incontinence, but there are some steps you can take that may help reduce the chance of it developing.
Being obesecan increase your risk ofdeveloping urinary incontinence. You may therefore be able to lower your risk by maintaining a healthy weight through regularexercise and healthy eating.
Use thehealthy weight calculator to see if you are a healthy weight for your height.
Get more information and advice about losing weight.
Depending on your particular bladder problem, your GP can advise you about the amount of fluids you should drink.
If you have urinary incontinence, cut down on alcohol and drinks containing caffeine, such as tea, coffee and cola. These can cause your kidneys to produce more urine and irritate your bladder.
The recommended daily limits for alcohol consumption are:
A unit of alcohol is roughly half a pint of normal-strength lager or a single measure (25ml) of spirits.
However, make sure you still drink enough fluids during the day.
Being pregnant and giving birth can weaken the muscles that control the flow of urine from your bladder. If you're pregnant, strengthening your pelvic floor musclesmay help prevent urinary incontinence.
Menmay also benefit from strengthening their pelvic floor muscleswith pelvic floor exercises.
Find out more about pelvic floor exercises.
Read about urinary incontinence, which is the unintentional passing of urine. It's a common problem that's thought to affect millions of people worldwide.
Read about the symptoms of urinary incontinence. Having urinary incontinence means you pass urine unintentionally.
Read about the causes of urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence occurs when the normal process of storing and passing urine is disrupted.
Read about diagnosing urinary incontinence. If you experience urinary incontinence, see your GP so they can determine the type of condition you have.
Read about non-surgical treatments for urinary incontinence. The treatment you receive will depend on the type of incontinence you have and the severity of your symptoms.
Read about surgical procedures for urinary incontinence, which may be recommended if other treatments are unsuccessful or unsuitable.