Urinary Incontinence: Types, Diagnosis and Treatment
As opposed to the general perception, urinary incontinence in men is not an illness. In fact, it is a symptom that there may be a problem in the urinary tract. The actual number of men who suffer from this condition has not been accurately established because many men choose to live with it rather than report it to their doctors. Going by the estimates, around 5 million men have urinary incontinence in the United States and an estimated 29.8 million adults who are 40 years of age and older in the United States show some symptoms of overactive bladder.
What is urinary incontinence?
Popularly known as Overactive Bladder (OAB), urinary incontinence refers to the medical condition in which the patient loses control over the function of the bladder and experiences urine leakage. Some of the causes of this condition are UTI (urinary tract infections, spinal injury, aging process and prostate problems.
Urinary incontinence can be temporary or permanent. Most men who suffer from temporary form of this disorder are generally diagnosed with BPH or prostate cancer. When they are treated for these diseases they automatically get relief from urinary incontinence. Fewer patients suffer from the permanent form and they are cured only when their treatment is focused solely on incontinence.
Kinds of urinary incontinence
It is important to gain awareness about the various kinds of urinary incontinence because each entails specific treatment approach. These approaches help alleviate or entirely cure the problem.
Urge incontinence. The patient suffering from urge incontinence lacks the ability to contain urine and is required to pass urine immediately.
Overflow incontinence. This condition is characterized by an overflowing bladder that results in some urinary leakage. When the production of urine goes beyond what the bladder is capable of holding, the bladder muscles give in and some urine flows out.
Stress incontinence. When the bladder muscles become too weak to withstand stress urine leakage occurs. Any activity that exerts pressure on the bladder like laughing, sneezing, performing certain exercises (pushups, weight lifting, etc.), coughing leads to stress incontinence. This type of incontinence is the most common one.
Total incontinence. The most critical kind of urinary incontinence total incontinence results in absolute loss of hold over the bladder functions. The patient cannot hold urine at all and experiences urine leakage all the time.
When the patient faces urinary incontinence symptoms and visits a doctor he is required to provide certain information regarding his urinary habits. It is recommended to keep a diary for a week to help the doctor to diagnose you properly. The doctor will also inquire about the symptoms to understand whether the condition is potentially caused by neurological problems.
For conducting a precise incontinence diagnosis the doctor will also perform certain tests. Most common tests are Digital Rectal Exam (DRE), bladder ultrasound, urinalysis, cystometry, cystoscopy, and/or electromyography.
The treatment of urinary incontinence depends on the causes responsible for this condition and the type of incontinence that the patient has. Do not ignore urine leakage even if it only happens sometime and the quantity that escapes is seemingly insignificant.
It is strictly advisable that medical help should be sought right away so that the proper course of treatment can be administered. The doctor may prescribe medications, exercises, supplements, prostate massaging devices and suggest some lifestyle changes. Variety of incontinence aids are available on the market to help you deal with this unpleasant condition.
Note that urinary incontinence is one of the prominent symptoms of prostate cancer. Please don’t hesitate to visit your doctor to avoid various medical complications and damage to general health.
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