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TEN QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT URINARY INCONTINENCE


1 - What is urinary incontinence and why does it occur?

Incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine from the bladder into inappropriate situations, causing the patients hygienic, social and psychological problems, as well as limiting their activities at work, family and social life.

2 - What are the different types of urinary incontinence?

There are several types of urinary incontinence. Some people have more than one:

        Stress Incontinence
        Urge Incontinence
        Mixed Incontinence
        Overflow Incontinence
        Total Incontinence

Comparing symptoms with descriptions of the different types of incontinence shown above can help you to identify what type of incontinence you have.

3 - What is stress incontinence?

People who suffer from stress incontinence have urinary leakage, usually in small jets caused by increased abdominal pressure when performing exercises or depending on the movement they do. Often, there is loss of elasticity and tension in the muscles of the pelvis. Women who suffer anatomical changes caused by multiple births or pelvic surgery may have the problem.

The incontinence can occur:

        When a person sneezes, coughs or laughs.
        When getting up from a chair or bed.
        When walking or doing exercises.
        During sexual relation.

People who suffer from this type of incontinence go to the toilet frequently during the day to avoid urine leakage.

4 - What is urge incontinence?

It occurs when a person has an intense and sudden urge to urinate, unable to postpone urination for more than a few minutes, leading thus to the urine leakage. This anomaly is caused by involuntary contractions of the bladder caused by different changes, such as irritations and infections from the urinary tract or neurological disorders.

This can occur when the patients:

        Do not reach the toilet quickly.
        Drink even a small amount of liquid.
        See or touch running water.

People who suffer from this type of incontinence go to the toilet frequently during the day to avoid urine leakage.

It is also possible that:

They have to go to the toilet frequently, both during the day and night, for example, every two hours, occasionally wetting the bed.

5 - What is mixed incontinence?

Many people suffer from a combination of urge and stress incontinence. Generally, one of the forms is more evident than the other. Both should be treated separately.

6 - What is overflow incontinence?

This type of incontinence occurs because the bladder is overly distended due to accumulation of urine inside. The cause of this accumulation is the existence of an obstruction in urine output (stones, prostate tumors, etc.), making the bladder muscles do not work well, causing a feeling of incomplete emptying.

People with this type of incontinence can:

        Lose small amounts of urine during the day or night.
        Get up frequently during the night to use the toilet.
        Feel the need to empty the bladder frequently, despite not achieving.
        Stay in the bathroom for a long time, however, producing a scarce flow of urine.

7 - What is total incontinence?

The total incontinence occurs only in people with diseases that affect the brain or spinal cord (paraplegics, for example). People who suffer from this type of incontinence lose voluntary control over urination and suffer involuntary contractions in the bladder, not controlling the urge to urinate.

This incontinence can occur:

        At any time of day or night.
        Without feeling the urge to urinate.
        Just noticing the leak when they are already wet.

8 - What is incontinence during sleep (Nocturnal Enuresis)?

People who suffer from nocturnal enuresis have urine leakage during sleep. It is most common in childhood.

This incontinence can occur:

        At any time of day or night.
        Without feeling the urge to urinate.

9 - What can be done?

The solution varies and depends on the cause. Therefore, an accurate diagnosis is essential for appropriate treatment. The most basic form of treatment is the use of disposable diapers and sanitary pads, but a doctor should be consulted before. Currently, urinary incontinence is a problem that is easy to solve because of the advancement in technology for diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment.

10 - What is the best advice for people who suffer from urinary incontinence?

There is no reason to be ashamed
Urinary incontinence is a disorder that affects millions of people. It is estimated that almost half of women have suffered from incontinence at some point in their lives.

Do not accept incontinence as something normal
Incontinence is not a normal consequence of the aging process. Although it is more common in older people and in women, we must not think that is a problem due to age and that we must live with it.

Talk with total frankness
Currently, only one in five people with urinary incontinence consult a doctor.
It is important to consult a doctor before the problem worsens. The diagnosis is simple and painless and treatments are effective.

Text elaborated with the help of Dr. Maria do Carmo Leitão - CRM / SP 67864


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