Changes with age, menopause in women, and an enlarged prostate in men can all result in incontinence. “Incontinence is urinary leakage of any kind,” says Julene Samuels, M.D., FACS. Both men and women can experience incontinence, although women are more likely due to stress on the body from childbirth. “By the age of fifty, 50% of women will have some form of incontinence,” says Dr. Samuels.
There are several forms of incontinence.
• Stress — leakage caused by pressure on the bladder, like sneezing, jumping, or lifting heavy objects.
• Overflow — constant dribbling as a result of a bladder that does not empty completely.
• Urge — involuntary loss of urine caused by an overactive bladder. This type of incontinence can be caused by other health issues, such as an infection.
• Mixed — a combination of any of the types of incontinence, typically stress and urge.
• Functional — inability to make it to the toilet in time because of a physical or mental impairment.
Solution 1: DIET AND LIFESTYLE
Healthy lifestyle and diet choices can help reduce the chances of developing incontinence or improve the condition. Maintaining an optimal weight and not smoking can decrease your risk. Food choices also make a difference. Opt for foods high in fiber and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and highly acidic foods, which can irritate the bladder.
Solution 2: CLINICAL TREATMENTS
Persistent incontinence may be a sign of other health issues and can impact your quality of life. If this is happening, talk to your doctor about the best treatment option for you. There are surgical and physical therapy options available. In addition, new technologies are emerging that offer nonsurgical options with results that have been shown in studies to be more effective than surgical procedures. One such technology, BTL EMSELLA, used primarily for women, is effective at treating urinary leakage. “It is a chair that you sit on, fully clothed, and it causes contractions in the pelvic floor. The strength of the contractions is stronger than what can be done on your own through Kegel exercises,” says Dr. Samuels, who has conducted studies and treated several patients with this therapy.
By Tami Pyles