Incontinence, that is, unintentional loss of urine, is a fairly common phenomenon, especially in women. It is estimated that about 20% of the female population over 40 years old has symptoms of incontinence, with the problem being more frequently observed as they age.
Many women perceive incontinence as a condition with which they should get used to living and not report it to their doctor. Of course, they are wrong. Symptoms of incontinence can be effectively treated, either through simple dietary interventions, medication, or surgery.
In some cases, incontinence may occur after a vaginal birth or caesarean section. It is a transient phenomenon that may last for a few days or persist for months, but usually recedes with weight loss and exercise.
The causes of incontinence vary, with the majority of cases being due to what is called incontinence after trying or incontinence from stress. It occurs when the pelvic floor muscles are loosened, causing the bladder to not be properly controlled when pressure inside it exceeds a threshold, such as in the case of coughing, sneezing, laughing or physical activity. The second most common type of incontinence is an urgent type of incontinence, in which the patient feels a strong urge to urinate and often has urine loss before reaching the toilet. Mandatory incontinence is associated with hypersensitivity to the bladder, unknown etiology, or may be the result of a neurological disorder. In some cases, incontinence is a mixed type, that is to say both types described above.
It is often enough to improve symptoms by reducing the body weight by 5-10% to reduce pressure on the bladder as well as limiting fluid intake, especially caffeine.
Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles can also help to control bladder more effectively in the case of stress incontinence. It is accomplished by pelvic exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, which are based on alternating tightening and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles.
In the treatment of stress incontinence mainly invasive techniques are used, such as the application of Free Voltage Film which helps to tighten the urethra. In cases where surgery is ruled out, collagen injections are performed with quite satisfactory results.
Emergency type incontinence is mainly treated with a conservative treatment consisting of the administration of anticholinergic drugs. Alternatively, device stimulation or Botox injections are used to treat involuntary bladder contractions through the nerves that control it.