What is Incontinence?

Incontinence is not a disease, but a symptom. It is defined as a condition, where a person experiences involuntary urination or bowel movements to an extent that affects your social life.

Urinary incontinence means losing control of the bladder. In some cases it results in a total loss of the bladder contents and in others, it merely causes a small leakage.

There are many causes of urinary incontinence such as physical damage, ageing, cancer and infections. Some conditions are temporary while others are more permanent.

Temporary causes for urinary incontinence include:

  • Lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking and excessive intake of fluids
  • Prescribed medication (mostly blood pressure drugs, muscle relaxants, sedatives and some heart medication)
  • Conditions such as constipation (can increase the need to urinate, because the compacted stool makes the nerves in charge of the bladder overactive)

Permanent causes for urinary incontinence include:

  • Ageing
  • Damage to the pelvic floor muscles
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Prostate/bladder cancer

The above are only examples. Always seek diagnosis and treatment advice from your General Practitioner if you experience incontinence.

Types of Incontinence

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