Urinary incontinence is a condition where the urinary bladder muscle loses its control due to many factors. This results in the sudden release of urine during forceful activities such as coughing, sneezing, or straining.
Although this condition commonly happens due to aging, some women are also prone to experiencing this due to certain factors. This article will discuss the three common causes of urinary incontinence in women and how they happen.
Urinary incontinence (UI) is a common problem for women of all ages. UI can be caused by a variety of factors, including pelvic floor muscle weakness, nerve damage, and changes in hormone levels.
Pregnancy is one of the most common causes of urinary incontinence in women of childbearing age. The bladder sits just below the uterus within the pelvic region. As the fetus grows inside the mother's belly, the weight adds pressure on the urinary bladder. This pressure causes the bladder to flatten slightly, leaving less space for urine storage. This extra pressure also causes the pregnant woman to feel the urge to urinate more often.
Another factor that may lead to urinary incontinence during pregnancy is the presence of pregnancy hormones. Some hormones released during pregnancy cause an increase in the production of urine, therefore elevating the woman's urgency to urinate.
The increase in urinary urge during pregnancy is normal and can be managed by performing the following activities;
The risk of developing urinary incontinence after pregnancy depends on the type of pregnancy, the child's delivery method (vaginal or C-section), and the total number of pregnancies the woman had.
Some of the most common causes of bladder control loss are:
Prolapse of pelvic organs: If the muscles around the bladder and the pelvic area become weak, some pelvic region organs will slip out of position.
Damage to the pelvic nerve: The pelvic nerve controls the urinary bladder muscles. A woman who experiences a difficult or prolonged vaginal delivery can be at risk of damaging the pelvic nerves, resulting in urinary incontinence after childbirth.
Child delivery-related injuries: Some instrument-assisted deliveries can cause injuries within the bladder or the pelvic nerve. These instruments are commonly used during forceps-assisted delivery.
Prolonged pushing: Difficult labor often results in prolonged pushing and stress on the muscles in the pelvic floor. This can also put the pelvic nerve at risk for damage.
As a woman enters the menopausal stage, estrogen levels start to drop. Estrogen is a hormone that helps keep the urinary bladder and urethra healthy. Consequently, as a woman ages and estrogen levels continue to drop, pelvic floor muscles become weak, leading to less bladder and urine control.
Some women in their menopausal stage are also taking prescription medications that relax the muscles or increase the production of urine. These medications can result in the loss of urinary bladder control, which may lead to incontinence.
What are the treatments for Urinary incontinence?
Treatments for urinary incontinence are mostly conservative and do not require surgery. These will vary depending on the cause. Initially, the physician will perform a thorough medical history check followed by an extensive physical assessment to determine the exact cause of the incontinence. The doctor may also ask if the patient is taking medications that contribute to urinary incontinence. Any signs of this condition should be reported to the physician for further evaluation.
If you or someone you know is experiencing urinary incontinence, schedule a consultation with one of Reedsburg Area Medical Center’s women’s health providers today.