Urinary incontinence (UI) is a loss of bladder control and it can range in severity. Those who suffer from this condition can experience a strong and sudden urge to urinate.
What is urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence (UI) is a loss of bladder control and it can range in severity. Those who suffer from this condition can experience a strong and sudden urge to urinate. Small amounts of urine may occasionally leak when one sneezes, coughs or exhibits physical activity. Bladder incontinence comes in several different forms:
- Urge – occurs from unwanted bladder contractions. It can be related to having an overactive bladder, eating certain foods or drinking certain liquids, nerve damage, previous pelvic surgery and pre-existing medical conditions.
- Stress – occurs when there is an exertion or an increase in abdominal pressure. Urine leaks occur due to coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercise and other physical activities.
- Mixed – a combination of urge and stress incontinence, which can commonly occur together.
- Overflow – occurs with significant urinary retention (an inability to empty the bladder). Urine will often spill out with movement.
- Positional – occurs from a change in body positioning, commonly from a sitting to a standing position. This can be a form of stress incontinence but it may also indicate an anatomic issue, such as pelvic prolapse.
- Functional – occurs secondary to conditions that make it difficult to reach the restroom in time, such as arthritis or dementia.
What are the causes for women?
Women often develop different UI symptoms due to physical problems or changes. Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and hysterectomy all result in urinary incontinence issues. With the hormonal changes and increased weight of the fetus, more pressure is put on the bladder and stress incontinence can occur. During a vaginal delivery, the muscles that control the bladder are weakened and the bladder nerves and supportive tissues can be damaged. This could eventually lead to pelvic floor prolapse. With a prolapse, one of the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, rectum or small intestine) falls from its usual position and protrudes into the vagina. These protrusions can cause incontinence.
After menopause, women produce less estrogen. This hormone helps to keep the lining of of the urethra and bladder healthy. A deterioration of these tissues can result in UI. During a hysterectomy, the uterus is removed. In women, the uterus and bladder are supported by many of the same ligaments and muscles. When the uterus is removed, there may be damage to the supporting pelvic floor muscles, which can result in incontinence issues.
Is there a link between urinary incontinence and obesity?
At MediMax Obesity Institute, we help patients who are struggling with urinary incontinence as it relates to obesity. Several studies have shown a direct association between the two. Obesity, like the late stages of pregnancy, can lead to chronic stretching and weakening of the muscle and nerves in the pelvic area. Even excess body weight is known to increase bladder pressure. When visceral fat pushes on the bladder, it adds pressure and affects the mobility of the urethra. The result is stress urinary incontinence and/or an overactive bladder. Obesity is one of the most important risk factors for daily urinary incontinence and it is an independent risk factor for stress and mixed incontinence.
By the same token, weight loss can lead to significant improvements in UI, and in some cases, can be an effective treatment.* A weight loss plan with lifestyle and behavioral measures, including diet and exercise, also lead to improvements in urinary incontinence symptoms.*
Get treatments in British Columbia
At MediMax Obesity Institute, we provide long-term partnerships in weight loss and management. We are on the cutting edge of obesity medicine and help you with both urinary incontinence issues and weight loss.* Request an appointment at one of our three locations in British Columbia: Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Langley. You can request your appointment online, or you can give us a call at (604) 217-1827. We look forward to seeing you!
*Individual results may vary; not a guarantee.