Symptoms of female incontinence
The importance of the wide range of urinary symptoms in women is becoming increasingly recognized. Current consensus finds that these symptoms are generally undertreated. Some women experience occasional minor leaks or dribbles of urine, while others wet their clothes frequently.
Women and their caregivers should identify those voiding symptoms that are the most bothersome. For example, although a woman might have both mixed stress and urge incontinence, the urge component may be more bothersome and should be the primary focus of treatment. Many symptoms and signs are specific to the causes of incontinence. These include:
If untreated, lost bladder control can become an ongoing problem. The impact incontinence can have on quality of life is immeasurable. And sometimes urinary incontinence increases the risk of falls in older adults as they rush to make it to the toilet. Complications of urinary incontinence include:
Changes in activities - Urinary incontinence can cause people to restrict their activities and limit social interaction to avoid embarrassment. For example, many women quit exercising for fear of incontinence or won’t travel or leave their homes for any duration of time for fear of embarrassing accidents.
Changes in personal life - It's not uncommon for anxiety and depression to accompany incontinence.Families who do not understand incontinence may grow frustrated or women may avoid sexual intimacy because of embarrassment caused by urine leakage.
Changes in work life - Urinary incontinence can negatively affect work life. The urge to urinate may keep a worker away from their desk or cause them to have to get up frequently during meetings. The problem can disrupt concentration at work or keep one awake at night, resulting in fatigue.
Skin problems - Urinary incontinence can cause rashes, skin infections and sores (skin ulcers) from constantly wet skin. Women with severe incontinence suffer rashes and skin breakdown from chronic skin exposure to urine.
Urinary tract infections - Incontinence increases the risk of chronic urinary tract infections.
When to seek help
Since urinary incontinence is embarrassing, women often put off seeking help from their doctors. However, women leaking urine need to talk to their primary physician for help. It may feel uncomfortable discussing incontinence, but if it’s frequent or is affecting quality of life, seeking medical advice is important. Furthermore, women having bladder problems six weeks after having a baby should also consult their doctor. And urinary incontinence can point to a more serious underlying condition, especially if it's associated with blood in the urine. See a doctor immediately when detecting blood in the urine. Women should schedule an office visit for any of the following reasons:
Urine leakage can result when a person is unable to reach the toilet in time as a result of medical conditions, medications, and/or difficulty with thinking clearly. The good news, however, is that incontinence isn't something a person necessarily has to live with. Regardless of the underlying cause, the effects can be significantly reduced, even eliminated, with proper treatment. Continue reading here to learn more about how doctors diagnose female urinary incontinence.
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