Urinary incontinence affects up to 13% of Australian men and up to 37% of Australian women. There are several types of urinary incontinence, and each has different treatment options.
In the latest edition of Australian Prescriber, Shannon Kim, Shuo Liu and Vincent Tse from Concord Hospital, Sydney, say that although incontinence isn’t life threatening, it can interfere with daily life.
The article outlines how the bladder works and the different types of incontinence:
Urgency incontinence, often known as overactive bladder, is a urine storage problem that can have many causes and can be managed, for example, with bladder training or medicines
Stress incontinence can occur for example when laughing, coughing, lifting or stretching, and if pelvic floor muscle training isn’t successful, treatment is usually surgery
Voiding dysfunction occurs when the muscles of the bladder do not work normally, and may improve with medicines.
Treatment aims to improve the quality of life by reducing symptoms. Not everyone will become completely dry.
“Bladder training, incontinence pads, medicines and sometimes surgery may be able to reduce uncomfortable symptoms such as frequency, urgency, urinating during the night, and incontinence,” the authors say.
“Treatment will be different for everybody, and your doctor will need to take your individual circumstances into account. For example, medicines for urinary incontinence can sometimes have side effects on other parts of the body, which might be a problem particularly in the elderly.”