If you've ever been bothered by urinary incontinence, rest assured you're not alone. It is a very common condition among both men and women, especially those over 60 years of age. Nearly 50% of all women experience urinary incontinence either occasionally or daily, and for men it's about half that figure. The reason it occurs more often in women is because of pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and the actual makeup of the urinary tract. Here are some of the most common causes of the condition, and a few tips on what you can do to manage it.
High fluid intake
Your bladder doesn't operate quite as efficiently when you get older, so if you're still drinking lots of fluids in your older years, your kidneys and bladder may not be able to hold it as well. Coffee-drinking can irritate the bladder, so cutting back on coffee and other fluids may be a big help. You might be able to train yourself to hold your urine longer as well, and this sometimes produces noteworthy results. Some people simply have poor kidney function, and this is the cause their incontinence.
Diseases or infections
It's very possible that you might have a disease or an infection which is triggering your incontinence. Urinary tract diseases and infections have caused incontinence for many people in the past, and they will continue to be a cause for the condition. There are also diseases which can damage the nerves which help to manage and control the bladder. Diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, and diabetes all fall into this category, and when these are the culprits for urinary incontinence, there's not much that can be done other than taking specific medications, or receiving injections which cause the wall of the urethra to thicken.
Tumors and obstructions
If you have some kind of tumor or other obstruction anywhere in the urinary tract, that will cause much more pressure to be exerted on the bladder, and that will cause involuntary urination in many cases. Obviously, having the obstruction removed would resolve the issue, but that may not always be practical or advisable.
Strokes, surgeries, cancer
People who have experienced a stroke will sometimes suffer from incontinence afterward, because damage was done to the nerves in the urinary tract. The same might be true for an elderly person who has had one or more surgeries, and experienced incontinence in the aftermath. Some treatments for cancer, especially those in the pelvic area, give rise to incontinence during treatment and in the follow-up period after treatment. In cases like these, there are some medical treatments which can provide relief to urinary incontinence.
A device known as an InterStim mechanism can be inserted under the skin of your hip surgically to help control bladder muscles. A 'sling procedure' can be used to place a sling around the urethra so as to provide extra support and relieve stress exerted upon the urethra. For bladder muscles which are simply overactive, some women have been helped by having Botox injections, and the effects of these injections will generally last several months.