Understanding Incontinence by G. Fairweather - HTML preview

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Part-I: Introduction

Incontinence- An Overview

Urinary incontinence is the situation when you are unable to control passage of urine. Such urine passage could be in small leakages or in large amounts.

Your body makes urine in your kidneys. The urine comes from waste materials after your body absorbs the nutrients from your intake of food and fluids. The urine flows out from your kidneys into your urinary bladder. This stores your urine until the bladder becomes full. Then your brain signals you to empty your urinary bladder and you urinate through your urethra.

However, sometimes this process is just not that simple. You urinate

involuntarily due to various factors. Such urinary incontinence or bladder incontinence is not necessarily an old age problem. It occurs with equal intensity in elders and youngsters, men and women alike. Many people fear discussing this embarrassing problem with a doctor.

Under normal conditions, your urine holding capacity finds support in different organs of the urinary system. Such organs are kidneys, urinary tract, and your nervous system. With these, you need the physical and physiological ability to recognize your urges and then urinate at the proper place and time.

Urination involves both filling and storing of urine and then emptying the bladder. Initially your bladder stretches to accommodate your urine inflow from the kidneys. It has a capacity to store around 350 to 500 ml of urine. You first feel the sensation to urinate when 200 ml of urine accumulates in your urinary bladder. A healthy bladder and nervous system can control the urge for Copyright 2005 All rights reserved

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quite some time after the first urge, and you will get more urine in your bladder generally before you decide to urinate.

The functional sphincter muscle and detrusor muscle of the bladder wall control such filling and storing. Next, the detrusor muscle acts on the brain's signals to empty the urinary bladder. Contraction of this muscle while relaxing the sphincter muscles, pours out urine from your body.

A major misconception among women suffering from urinary incontinence is that this is a gender specific problem and is common with advancing age. It is an intrinsic part of being a woman and can occur because of childbirth.

If you have recently had a baby, and you are losing control, you need to consult with your doctor. If your kids are older and you have been dealing with this problem on your own and it is still troubling you, it's time to talk to your doctor.

You need to erase such misconceptions and seek medical help to address your problem. Timely medical assistance can solve your incontinence problem.

Women die of breast cancer because they do not want to discuss their

condition with a doctor and "normal" people live a lifetime of unnecessary misery dealing with coughing, sneezing, laughing and urinating.

Urinary incontinence is mainly due to infections in the urinary tract and other problems associated with the urinary system. Some of you could change your lifestyles and other habits, like intake of alcohol and sedatives, to overcome problems of urinary incontinence. The normal approach to such incontinence problems is bladder training. Kegel exercises and simple medications also Copyright 2005 All rights reserved

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provide relief from incontinence problems. (Kegel Exercises are explained on

page 50.)

Kegel exercises strengthen pelvic muscles, which control the functioning of your urinary system. You can practice such exercises while doing simple things like watching television, making a meal, or even while driving your car.

Of course, you should not do them while urinating, as they will further weaken your pelvic muscles. Drug therapy, surgeries, urinary catheter, and pads are other solutions for your urinary incontinence problem.

Urinary incontinence is either temporary or chronic incontinence. Again, it could be due to surgeries, nervous disorders, diseases, childbirth, or other psychological disabilities. Such incontinence is due to different factors, which classify the category of urinary incontinence. Normally children below six years old do not fall under this categorization, as they need to develop full toilet habits. However, such problems are prevalent in elderly people and many hospital patients.

Whatever may be the cause for your urinary incontinence, you can receive much relief from medications and advice of doctors. Hence, it is not necessary to hide your problem. Instead, discuss it with urologists and find the proper cure for your incontinence problem.


Copyright 2005 All rights reserved

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