Millions of adults in the United States experience urinary incontinence. Although an overactive bladder is most common in people over 50 years old, especially women, the condition can also affect younger people, especially women who have just given birth. We’ll review the anatomy of the bladder to learn more.
The body processes nutrients from food to maintain functions such as creating energy and self-repair. After the body has taken what it needs from food, waste products are left behind in the blood and in the bowel. The urinary system works with the lungs, skin, and intestines to clean chemicals and waste products from the body. Specifically, the urinary system creates urine as urea (a waste substance from proteins), water and other waste substances pass through the kidneys.
The bladder is a hollow muscular organ that sits in the pelvis and is held in place by ligaments attached to other organs and the pelvic bones. The bladder stores urine until nerves send a message to the brain that the bladder is full. It swells into a round shape when it is full and gets smaller when empty. When you urinate, the brain signals the bladder muscles to tighten and relax until urine exits the bladder through the urethra. When all the signals occur in the correct order, normal urination occurs.
What is incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control. Urinary incontinence ranges from leaking a small amount of urine (such as when coughing or laughing) to having very strong urges to urinate that are difficult to control.
Types of incontinence
There are four main types of urinary incontinence that doctors diagnose. These include:
Functional incontinence – This type of incontinence is defined by the presence of other disorders (such as arthritis), which make it difficult to move quickly enough to the toilet.
Overflow incontinence – Overflow incontinence occurs when small amounts of urine leak from a bladder that is always full.
Stress incontinence – Stress incontinence occurs when urine leaks as pressure is put on the bladder. Stress incontinence can occur during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting heavy objects.
Urge incontinence – Urge incontinence is characterized by a sudden need to urinate that cannot be controlled. Urge incontinence is often experienced by people diagnosed with diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or stroke.
Incontinence does not need to be an embarrassing condition. In fact, many cases of incontinence are the result of other medical conditions. So who is at risk of developing incontinence? And what causes urinary incontinence. Keep reading for more.
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