Urinary incontinence can cause an awful lot of frustration due to loss of control and the impact it leaves on your daily activities. For many people, it is not only a source of embarrassment, but also social discomfort, and a loss of self-confidence.
But urinary incontinence can be fixed! So, you shouldn’t throw in the towel yet and let it disrupt your daily life. To learn more about urinary incontinence in Singapore, please follow this link: https://drngkailyn.com/conditions/urinary-incontinence/.
How can you fix Urinary Incontinence?
To begin, urinary incontinence can be fixed. But it hardly ever goes away on its own. To fix urine incontinence, the first step is to know the type of incontinence you’re dealing with.
You will also want to find out what is causing it to deal with the issue and not just the symptoms. With that out of the way, here are the common types of urinary incontinence and how to fix them;
1. Stress incontinence
Stress incontinence occurs when urine leaks during activities that put pressure on the bladder. Typical activities include coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising, or lifting heavy objects.
Consider incorporating pelvic floor exercises to address stress incontinence naturally. Lifestyle modifications may also be recommended to improve the condition.
Lifestyle modifications that may help with stress incontinence include;
- Consuming high-fibre foods
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Managing conditions like diabetes
- Staying hydrated to prevent constipation, which can worsen incontinence and
- Getting assistance to quit smoking or using tobacco products
You may also try bladder training or timed voiding, where restroom visits are scheduled. For women, stress incontinence treatments may include;
- Vaginal oestrogen creams
- Gels and
- Rings or patches to strengthen vaginal muscles and tissues after menopause
Your women’s health specialist may also recommend insertable vaginal pessary devices to provide support to the bladder and urethra. Urethral injections may also be prescribed to temporarily enhance the urethral muscle and maintain the closure of the sphincter.
In some cases, surgery may be performed to place a sling under the urethra for support. This sling could be made of your tissue, donor tissue, or surgical mesh.
2. Urge incontinence
Urge incontinence is characterised by a sudden, intense urge to urinate followed by involuntary urine leakage. From minor conditions like infections to more serious issues such as neurological disorders or diabetes, there are so many issues that may lead to the development of urge incontinence.
There are several approaches that can be adopted to manage urge incontinence. Key among these is the pelvic floor exercises, known as Kegels.
Kegels can strengthen the muscles that support the urinary system and improve symptoms. If you want to try Kegels for urge incontinence, please consult a specialised physical therapist who can teach you the correct technique for effectively targeting and utilising these muscles.
If you smoke, seek help to quit smoking and reduce the consumption of caffeinated and carbonated beverages as well as alcohol. These substances can irritate an overactive bladder.
It does also help to maintain a healthy weight, drink enough water and to incorporate a high-fibre diet to prevent constipation and hydration, and managing conditions like diabetes. Again bladder training or timed voiding can also be helpful.
If these conservative measures don’t quite help, seek medical interventions. Medications or bladder botulin toxin injections may be prescribed to relax your bladder muscle and increase its capacity.
Nerve stimulation, using devices that send electrical pulses to regulate bladder function, can be achieved through surgical placement of a sacral nerve stimulation device or in-office procedures like percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS). In more severe cases, augmentation cystoplasty surgery may be suggested to enlarge the bladder using intestinal tissue or urinary diversion surgery to redirect urine flow outside of the body.
3. Overflow incontinence
Overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder doesn’t empty completely. This results in frequent or constant dribbling of urine.
To address overflow incontinence, pelvic floor exercises may be recommended to strengthen the muscles supporting the urinary system. Additional steps include:
- Quitting smoking.
- Reducing consumption of caffeinated and carbonated beverages.
- Limiting alcohol intake.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Preventing constipation and hydration.
- Managing conditions like diabetes.
- Practising bladder training or timed voiding.
If these techniques prove insufficient, medical interventions may be recommended. Medications or bladder botulin toxin injections can relax the bladder muscle, so it can hold more urine.
Nerve stimulation using electrical pulses, either through a surgical procedure or percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation, may also be recommended to regulate an overactive bladder. In some cases, augmentation cystoplasty surgery may be done to enlarge the bladder using tissue from the intestine. Urinary diversion surgery may also be adopted to redirect urine flow to an external drainage bag.
4. Functional incontinence
Functional incontinence occurs when a physical or mental impairment hinders you from reaching the toilet in time. For instance, severe arthritis can make unbuttoning or unzipping clothing difficult or painful.
To address functional incontinence, the first step is identifying and addressing the underlying cause. If arthritis is the issue, for example, you will want to wear easily removable clothing.
If it’s due to a urinary tract infection (UTI), antibiotics may be prescribed to eliminate the bacteria. If medication is the cause, consult with your doctor about alternative options. Here are some treatments that can help reduce functional incontinence:
- Incontinence pads or underwear: These can be worn or lined in regular underwear to absorb leaks.
- Bladder training: Scheduled bathroom visits, even if not feeling the urge, can prevent the bladder from becoming too full. This technique is known as timed voiding.
- Urinary catheter: A flexible tube inserted by a healthcare provider into the urethra to allow the bladder to drain urine into an external bag.
- Pelvic floor physical therapy: This therapy helps strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which can aid in preventing leaks during trips to the bathroom. Kegel exercises are a common form of pelvic floor exercise.
5. Mixed incontinence
Mixed incontinence refers to experiencing more than one type of urinary incontinence. Commonly, it is a combination of stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
When it comes to treatment, bladder training is one of the first approaches. It helps minimise leaks from urge incontinence by adhering to a set bathroom schedule, gradually reducing the intense urge to urinate.
Kegel exercises may also be recommended to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Your doctor may also prescribe medications like anticholinergics to relieve symptoms of urge incontinence.
Surgery is a last resort. It has different options for stress and urge incontinence but carries risks. You may also want to try electrical stimulation with FDA-cleared devices to help contract pelvic floor muscles through gentle electrical pulses.
Please, see a doctor for urinary incontinence if it begins to interfere with your daily life, causes distress, or becomes persistent. If you’re in Singapore, contact DR. NG KAI LYN’s office today to schedule a consultation and find personalised solutions for your condition. Contact details:
Dr Ng Kai Lyn | Female Gynaecologist | Women’s Health Specialist | Fertility Specialist Singapore
38 Irrawaddy Rd,
#05-34/35 Mt Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre,
+65 6011 1531