What Is Urinary Incontinence?
Most men and women hear the word “incontinence” and think, “No, I don’t have that!”
But urinary incontinence includes any condition in which there is accidental or unwanted loss of urine – whether it is just a drop, two, or more; whether it happens only occasionally or regularly.
Urinary incontinence affects both men and women however, it is two times as common in women.
How Do I Know I Have It?
The main symptom of incontinence is the unplanned release of urine; whether it occurs in small drops or a larger volume. This leakage can occur on a daily basis, or may be more infrequent.
Most men or women who “leak” do not identify themselves as incontinent, but should understand that unplanned bladder leakage is not normal and should be addressed early as these issues will not resolve on their own and can worsen.
If left untreated, urinary incontinence can affect the way a woman feels about herself and can cause depression or social isolation. In addition, ongoing urinary incontinence can lead to skin irritation and increased risk for urinary tract infections.
Underlying Cause of Urinary Miseries in Women
In women, stress incontinence (involuntary loss of urine during physical activity such as sneezing or exercise) is usually caused by a weakening of the bladder sphincter and pelvic floor muscles. Shrinkage (atrophy) of tissues where the bladder and urethra meet also contributes to the problem. Hormonal changes occurring after menopause are thought to be an underlying cause of these anatomical changes in the bladder sphincter that lead to urinary incontinence.
In postmenopausal women, decreased androgen (testosterone) levels weaken the pelvic floor and sphincter muscles, while an estrogen deficit induces atrophy of the urethra.
Mainstream medicine offers only mediocre therapies to address urinary incontinence. Drugs commonly used for this condition are expensive and side-effect-prone. Only a small proportion of the affected population seeks treatment because most people consider their urinary symptoms a consequence of normal aging.
Urinary Incontinence in Men
Women are not alone in suffering from age-related urinary complaints. About 60% of men over age 50 suffer from benign prostate enlargement.
The most common complaint expressed in response to prostate gland overgrowth is frequent nightly awakenings to urinate. Today’s doctors mistakenly view this as a quality of life issue and fail to treat it a life-threatening condition.
Persistent nighttime urinary urgency impairs one’s ability to properly sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation significantly increases one’s risk of common related diseases such as heart attack, cancer, depression, and various inflammatory syndromes.