A MORE DETAILED LOOK AT STRESS INCONTINENCE
Stress Incontinence is one of the more common types of incontinece, today we will look at a few common questions we receive, and try to answer them all!
Is Stress Incontinence normal? It is important to differentiate between “normal” and “common”. The current statistics show that up to 1 in 3 women, and up to 1 in 100 men have urinary stress incontinence, which means that although stress incontinence may not be normal it is very common.
Will Stress Incontinence go away? The chance that stress incontinence will go away will largely depend on the cause. If the cause is purely due to something like currently being pregnant then it should resolve after the birth of the baby. However if stress incontinence is due to tissue or nerve damage which occurred during childbirth, then stress incontinence will not resolve on its own. In most cases some intervention will be required to decrease the symptoms.
What causes Stress Incontinence? Stress incontinence occurs when the muscles that control the opening and closing of the urethra (the urinary sphincter) and muscles and tissues that support the urethra (the pelvic floor) weaken. During the day your bladder fills with urine, and it’s the job of the urinary sphincter to keep the opening of the urethra (the tube that carries the urine out your body) closed. When the pelvic floor and sphincter muscles are weak, then anything that increases the pressure in the abdomen (coughing, laughing, sneezing, bending over etc.) causes pressure on the bladder and the urine leaks out.
The causes of stress incontinence can be any of the following:
Pregnancy: Hormonal changes can interfere with the way the urinary sphincter functions. The increased pressure on the bladder can also lead to stress incontinence.
Childbirth: This can be due to damage to the tissue or nerves during natural delivery.
Prostate Surgery: The prostate is around the bladder. When the prostate is removed, or radiation is done, this can lead to damage of the muscles and nerves of the bladder, the urinary sphincter, and/or the urethra.
Age: As we age, our muscles weaken so this includes the pelvic floor and sphincter muscles. In woman estrogen levels start to drop and this leads to thinning of the lining of the urethra.
Body Weight:: Increased body weight can lead to weakness of the pelvic floor as a result of the increased pressure in the abdomen. Loosing excess weight can therefore decrease the severity of stress incontinence.
Can Stress Incontinence cause a urinary tract infection? Yes, it can! Research has shown that there may be a link between the 2 conditions. If urine remains close to the skin and urethra, bacteria can build up and make its way to up the urinary tract causing a urinary tract infection. Making use of good quality absorbent products and ensuring good hygiene will decrease the risk significantly.
Can Stress Incontinence get worse? Yes! …although this depends on the cause. eg. Stress incontinence due to weakening muscles will worsen if the muscles continue to weaken.
Can men have Stress Incontinence? Yes! Up to 1 in 100 men have stress incontinence. Due to social embarrassment most men do not openly discuss their conditions or seek medical help. This may lead people to believe that the condition is less common than it actually is.
In our next edition we will be looking at the management options available for stress incontinence…. So don’t miss it! If you have any questions please contact us! You can either comment on this blog post or send us a Whatsapp to 072 4362950.
WHO WE ARE
Meet Tony Rischbieter, one of our Co-Founders and CEO. Tony has over 30 years of experience in both the local and international pharmaceutical and medical device industry. We are lucky to have him as chief in charge!
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