SKIN LINE | MAY 2023
Incontinence, as a condition, is caused by a myriad of different factors and affects millions of people around the world. It is more common in women, but also affects many men with the advancing of age or with existing prostate issues.
If you are researching incontinence, you will most likely find that it is defined as an uncontrolled release of urine. This problem – urinary incontinence – affects quality of life, social and professional contacts negatively.
Incontinence in women is most often resulting from anatomical specifics of the pelvic floor, as well as the different changes caused by pregnancy and childbirth, which stretch out the connective tissue supporting the bladder.
Menopause is also a risk factor, due to decreased levels of hormones that contribute to the muscle tone and health of the perineum.
Other factors contributing to urinary incontinence are:
Often, diet and lifestyle factors can also contribute to the development of incontinence – such are medications for high blood pressure and cardiac disease, as well as sedatives, increased consumption of diuretics such as carbonated drinks, supplements with a high quantity of vitamin C, drinks and food with sugar and acids, such as citruses and others.
Temporary incontinence can be caused by a urinary tract infection (UTI), constipation, bladder stones.
Even though the main symptom of incontinence is only one, it appears differently depending on the type of incontinence.
Involuntary loss of urine happens when there is an increased amount of pressure applied on the bladder. This happens after physical exertion such as laughter, coughing or sneezing, as well as sport.
A sudden and intense need to urinate is felt, followed by involuntary loss of urine, sometimes during the night. It can be caused by an infection or a more serious condition such as diabetes or a neurological disorder.
With this type of incontinence, the bladder is constantly full due to a physical obstruction such as a stone or tumor. Frequent or constant loss of urine occurs.
Urine is being lost due to health conditions such as dementia, loss of vision, loss of mobility and others, in which the patient does not realize the need to use the toilet.
Mixed incontinence usually combines symptoms of two types of urinary incontinence – stress and urge.
When urinary incontinence is chronic, it can cause further complications such as dermatological conditions, urinary tract infections and overall worsened quality of life.
Many people are too embarrassed to consult a specialist if they suffer from incontinence, but as the condition gets more serious, it can disrupt the daily routine. In addition, when we are talking about older patients, further risks can occur, therefore consulting a physician is necessary.
To prescribe the correct treatment, the consulting physician will determine what type of incontinence the patient has by the specific symptoms. After a urine test, ultrasound examination and additional tests, when necessary, treatment based on the individual needs of the patient and the severity of the condition is chosen.
Usually, the least invasive treatment options are preferred first, and more serious manipulations are only necessary when the initial results are not satisfactory.
This therapeutic approach consists of “training” the bladder, purposely trying to postpone urination while aiming to increase the interval with time. Planned urination and managing the food and liquid intake can also be used.
Kegel exercises are used to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor to increase control over the urge to urinate. They are especially effective for stress incontinence, but also useful for urge incontinence.
Your physician may prescribe medications that contain substances which calm the overactive bladder such as anticholinergics, local use of estrogen and others.
One of the most effective and innovative ways to treat urinary incontinence is the application of non-ablative radiofrequency using InMode’s FormaV. This is a revolutionary method which uses the power of radiofrequency to heat the tissue of the vagina and labia for up to 30 minutes. It tightens and rejuvenates the vaginal canal and the vulva, strengthens the muscles of the pelvic floor, improving control over the bladder.
After the first procedure with Forma V patients can see a tighter vaginal canal, as well as a decrease in stress urinary incontinence. Results get better with each procedure. Treatment with Forma V is painless, the sensor built in the applicator measures the exact energy put out during the procedures, while the safety features track the temperature of the tissue.
Forma V can be the perfect treatment for urinary incontinence for all women who suffer from this problem and also which to improve their overall vaginal health.
Such include the urethral insert, a small one-use device that prevents leaking of urine, or the pessary, a silicone device that is inserted into the vagina and acts as support for the urethra, preventing urine leakage.
Those include injecting implants in the tissue around the urethra and botulinum toxin in the muscles of the bladder. Neurostimulation is also done by implanting devices into the vagina and underneath the skin of the buttocks, which are used to stimulate the sacral nerves to regain control over the overactive bladder, when other methods are unsuccessful.
When conservative treatment options are unsuccessful, different types of surgical procedures are also possible. They include implanting a sling underneath the urethra to hold it in its natural position, surgical treatment of prolapse, implanting an artificial urethral sphincter and others.
It is recommended that diet changes are implemented together with any other treatment options for incontinence. Fresh fruits and vegetables, tea and raw nuts should substitute fast food, strong spices and fried food.
Sports and physical activity can also help with treatment of the symptoms, especially for patients who suffer from obesity, as weight loss and an overall improvement to the physical condition relief part of the stress on the bladder.
With adequate treatment and all other supporting measures, long-term control of urinary incontinence, even a permanent resolution of the problem, can be achieved.
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