Incontinence is an umbrella term used to describe the involuntary leakage of urine in both men and women. Individuals looking to research and discover information on urge incontinence may become overwhelmed and frustrated at the general information that is available. While the information may generally address adult incontinence, it doesn’t specifically address urge incontinence.
The following will look at what urge incontinence is, what the cause of it may be, and what solutions are available for individuals who may suffer from this type of incontinence.
What is Urge Incontinence?
The official medical definition of urge incontinence is an extreme, sudden urge to urinate. This sudden urge is often a result of a strong spasm or contraction-like movement within the bladder. The spasms that cause this type of incontinence can be a result of trauma to the bladder, a disease or illness, or the body’s initial reaction to nerves.
Urinary leakage happens with urge incontinence because the bladder muscles suddenly contract without warning or at wrong times throughout the day. These contractions or spasms will happen no matter how much urine is already in the bladder.
The symptoms of urge incontinence include:
- Frequent trips to the bathroom regardless of how full the bladder may be
- Involuntary loss of urine
- An intense feeling to urinate
Urge incontinence can technically happen to anyone at any age, but it is commonly found in women over the age of 60. Men are not immune to urge incontinence, but medical professionals tend to see more cases with women.
What is the Cause of Urge Incontinence?
The cause of urge incontinence is often linked to another, underlying medical condition. The medical conditions that cause urge incontinence have either caused direct damage to the bladder, weakened the bladder, or caused the bladder to produce sudden and involuntary spasms or contractions.
Medical conditions that have been linked to urge incontinence include:
- Bladder cancer
- Inflammation of the bladder caused by autoimmune diseases
- Enlarged prostate
- Multiple sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Trauma to the spinal cord
- Heart attack
Treatment of the underlying cause of urge incontinence does not always treat this condition. Urge incontinence is thought to be a chronic, yet manageable condition.
What are the Available Solutions for Urge Incontinence?
The solutions for urge incontinence will depend upon the severity of the condition, and what has caused it. Some of the more common solutions include:
- Kegel exercises can slightly strengthen bladder walls and reduce the number of spasms or contractions
- Bladder retraining
- Medications designed for urge incontinence
While many of these solutions might help prolong the length of time individuals take between trips to the bathroom, or lessen the frequency of contractions or spasms, the truth is urge incontinence is a chronic condition and potential urinary leakage can be expected, even if these solutions help improve the condition. Many individuals find wearing comfortable incontinence briefs and incontinence panties to be helpful in allowing them to manage this condition with dignity.