Have you ever heard someone say after telling a joke, “I laughed so hard, I peed my pants”? If it is indeed true, then it is no laughing matter. Incontinence affects millions of American men and women. It is more common as men and women age but can occur at any time and may impact a man or woman’s quality of life because of embarrassing leakage. It can affect a man or woman’s self-image and confidence.
There are two categories of urinary incontinence: stress incontinence and urge incontinence. Stress incontinence is due to laughing or sneezing. Basically, small amount of leakage occurs when the pressure in the belly is more than what the urethra – the urine tube leading out of the bladder – can stand. This is what happens when you laugh or sneeze and leak.
Urge incontinence occurs when the bladder contracts and forces usually large volume of urine out. People may describe a sudden urge to urinate, and they simply cannot make it in time to the bathroom. Sometimes both types of incontinence may be present and is referred to mixed incontinence.
Women are more likely to experience urinary incontinence because their anatomy predisposes them to leakage of urine. Also, hormonal changes occurring at the time of menopause with a decrease in estrogen levels, childbirth and aging make leakage more common for women. If the incontinence affects a woman’s day-to-day life and it keeps them from taking part in their daily activities, then they should take the initiative and obtain the assistance of the physicians.
Men with incontinence, on the other hand, should see their doctor as it may represent a more serious problem with their prostate gland.
The good news is that urinary incontinence can be treated. It may be as simple as behavioral changes quit, special exercises and medicines. In some cases it may involve surgery.
Bottom Line: Urinary incontinence affects millions of American men and women. It is not a condition that kills those who suffer but it does affect their quality of life. Help is available and most men and women who suffer from urinary incontinence can be helped. Remember you don’t have to depend on Depends!