What is urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is a lack of control over urination. The condition is more common among women than men. Approximately 10 % of all women suffer from it, and most women experience incidents of urinary incontinence at least once in their life.
What are the symptoms?
The condition is characterised by involuntary, dropwise urination leakage. Urinary incontinence most often occurs in connection with physical activity or sneezing or coughing which cause an increased pressure on the bladder. The condition can be divided into three stages, depending on the severity:
Light: Urinary leakage consisting of a few drops, 1-2 times per months.
Moderate: Daily leakage of drops/small portions of urine.
Serious: Major urinary leakage at least once a week.
The two types of urinary incontinence
The most frequent type of urinary incontinence is stress incontinence. It occurs when the bladder’s sphincter weakens so that the muscle can no longer prevent the urine from running out. Urinary leakage is especially seen when there is an increased pressure on the bladder, for example caused by laughter, coughing or sneezing. The condition may also occur when you are physically active, run, jump or dance, and it can be socially restrictive for this reason.
Urge incontinence is characterised as a sudden and strong urination urge which is difficult to control. The condition occurs when the bladder muscle suddenly contracts. Often, the urge occurs suddenly and at an inconvenient time, making you unable to make it to the bathroom. The urinary leakage in cases of urge incontinence is often significant, and the urge may occur op to 8 times during a single day.
What are the causes?
The reduced function of the bladder’s sphincter may be due to:
Pregnancy and birth, where the pelvic floor is put under a lot of pressure
Chronic coughing or overweight
Prolapse of vagina or uterus
Lack of oestrogen
Medicine capable of weakening the urethra’s ability to keep closed
The bladder not being emptied adequately
Urge incontinence may be caused by nerve damage, sclerosis or infections in the bladder. In the worst cases, it may be due to cancer in the bladder.
What are the treatments?
Urinary incontinence is examined by the physician with a urine sample which is checked for bacteria, and you also undergo a thorough check of your disease history, where you inform the physician about the duration/frequency of the urinary tract symptoms. The physician can also perform an examination of your urine flow, and request that you fill out a schedule that covers your urination. In addition, your blood can be tested by a regular blood sample.
Depending on the cause of the development of condition, treatment can be directed to pelvic floor training or medical treatment. During the medical treatment, the patient is given Duloxetine, which improves the urethra’s ability to seal shut. However, this treatment has some side-effects, including nausea, and it can therefore be very unpleasant to take the medicine.
If the condition is severe, it is possible to operate (TVT surgery). This mostly happens in cases of stress incontinence, where the procedure is done with local anaesthesia, and you can return home the same day.