Incontinence is a progressive condition, which means symptoms can come on gradually. But what are the common symptoms of incontinence, and how do different types of incontinence play a role?
Stress Urinary Incontinence Symptoms
While involuntary loss of urine or stool is the main symptom of incontinence, the associated issues are more varied. For many people, the earliest and most common problem is just a little loss of urine with coughing, sneezing, or jumping. This is referred to as stress urinary incontinence, and a shocking amount of people live with this minor problem—literally tens of millions of people and maybe most moms over a certain age.
But as you can probably imagine, stress urinary incontinence can often get worse. The next baby comes along, and if it is a nine pounder, the delivery may result in some tearing of the muscles and stretching of the nerves that are relied upon to maintain good control. Then the aging process gradually results in some deterioration of the muscles in a diminution of the nerve signaling. So, when stress incontinence becomes more advanced, the problem becomes a lot less livable. A small drop or two with a hearty laugh may have been no big deal, but an entire emptying of the bladder with a minimal unexpected exertion is a most unwelcome problem.
Urge Incontinence & Overactive Bladder
Then there is the similarly common problem of urge incontinence. A great number of people feel the sensation that they must get to the bathroom quickly to empty their bladder, and this urge or sense of urgency often means that they don’t make it to the bathroom. Many things can trigger the urge, but once it progresses, the bladder has a mind of its own and wants to contract and empty even though there might not be a large volume of urine, and even though it’s better to wait. Nocturnal voiding is a frequent feature of what is often dubbed overactive bladder, meaning that a great number of people find themselves getting up numerous times a night to run to the toilet, and experience the frustration of wetting the bed and needing to wear pads and diapers.
Because the control of both the bladder and the bowels depends upon the same neuromuscular physiology, additional symptoms of incontinence include leakage from the rectum. This may also start as a small minor nuisance with a little bit of seepage occurring now and then. It happens most often when the stool consistency becomes thinner, softer, or liquid. Over the years, the leakage may become more frequent and then progress to episodes with unannounced complete evacuation of the rectum. Anyone who has experienced this will tell you it’s no fun. There is an equivalent urgency-type sensation that some people report, in which one has little warning time to get to the toilet. Many other people simply have no sensation whatsoever with either the rectum or the bladder, and they simply find that the pad or diaper has become full of urine or stool unbeknownst to them.
It is a complex system of nerves and muscles that constitutes the pelvic floor, and it relies on complex interactions with the brain and the rest of the body. A whole lot of life events in life can lead to faulty pelvic floor function, including things like childbirth, surgery, medications, and radiation. But there are excellent treatments today, and it is no longer the case that a person must simply live with incontinence in silence.
If you or a loved one are suffering with bladder or bowel incontinence, reach out to an experienced specialist and investigate the treatment options. Paired with natural exercises, non-invasive technological solutions have provided a means of “switching on” the dormant or faulty neuromuscular impulses required to restore continence in 90% of people.
Contact Nevada Surgical today to learn more about treatment options for incontinence.