Incontinence isn’t a disease but a symptom
Start a conversation about incontinence and there’s bound to be a red face or two, some silly jokes and a quick change of subject.
Few people are inclined to discuss their waterworks (or anyone else’s for that matter) which is why many sufferers are themselves clueless about incontinence causes and treatment.
If you think it’s only old ladies who have weak bladders, think again. Because all types of incontinence can be caused by everyday habits, underlying medical conditions, and minor and serious physical problems that can affect both young and old, healthy and ailing, male and female.
However, women are more prone to light leakage than men. This is because women’s plumbing is more internalised. While this has advantages, it also means the female bladder muscle structure is also internalised and so influenced by female events like pregnancy, childbirth, hysterectomy, and menopause.
Some of the biggest causes of “incontinence in women”/female-incontinence are:
- Weakened and stretched pelvic floor muscles (sometimes resulting in prolapse) from pregnancy and childbirth
- Thinning and drying of the skin in the vagina or urethra, especially after menopause
- Certain medicines
- Being overweight
- Urinary tract infections
- Vascular disease
- Diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis
Frequently, incontinence goes away once the causes have been identified and action taken. For example, after having a baby, the mother can reverse damage done to her pelvic floor by regularly doing pelvic floor exercises to regain pre-birth strength and firmness. And once the pelvic floor is fit and able to do its job of supporting the pelvic organs, the bladder is again controllable and incontinence is no longer a problem.
Other temporary incontinence causes are certain foods, drink and medications. In these cases, a simple change in habits may sort out the problem.
Causes of temporary urinary incontinence
Alcohol acts as a bladder stimulant and a diuretic, which can cause an overwhelming need to visit the bathroom. Taking in a lot of fluids, especially in a short period of time, increases the amount of urine you have to hold, and so increases the frequency of dashes to the toilet.
Taking in a lot of fluids, especially in a short period of time, increases the amount of urine you have to hold, and so increases the frequency of dashes to the toilet.
Dehydration from not drinking enough liquid can cause your urine to become very concentrated. This collection of concentrated salts can irritate your bladder and make incontinence worse. Bladder irritation from drinking carbonated drinks, tea and coffee (with or without caffeine) artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, and foods and beverages that are high in spice, sugar and acid, such as citrus and tomatoes.