The Embarrassing Leak

urinary incontinenceToday, with so much information available on health and wellness, in addition to advancements in diagnostics and treatment, many people are still bashful about discussing some health issues. Many of these complaints are with the sexual and reproductive organs. One such topic is “the embarrassing leak”. The medical term is urinary incontinence.

Loss of Bladder Control

The strong external sphincters of the bladder keep our urine in and relax only at the time we are ready to urinate. Urinary incontinence is the loss of this bladder control. The scale of this problem ranges from mild leaks to significant wetting. Loss of bladder control can result from several physical and mental conditions. There are different types of incontinence:

  1. Stress incontinence results from increased abdominal pressure on the bladder. Conditions such as pregnancy and childbirth can exert undue pressure on the bladder.
  2. Overflow incontinence will occur with a very full bladder that will not empty in a timely manner because of a blockage of the urethra. This blockage causes obstruction of the outflow of urine.
  3. Urge incontinence results from an overactive bladder which can result from a urinary infection, bladder stones, spicy foods and alcohol. More serious causes are damage to nerves.
  4. Functional incontinence happens when there is a physical disability or mental conditions which prevent you from getting to the bathroom on time.

Loss of bladder control can result in embarrassing episodes as it is difficult to hide the evidence of the urine stain and odor. Women are more troubled by this medical problem.

There are many medical solutions and lifestyle changes that can improve incontinence. If you are having this problem, do not be bashful about discussing it with your primary healthcare provider.


  • Make the Kegel exercises, also known as the pelvic floor exercises, a part of your daily routine to keep the muscles of the pelvic floor well-toned.
  • Empty your bladder when you first feel the urge to urinate. This way you avoid a full bladder which is more likely to become incontinent.
  • Wear disposable adult pull-up diapers. This will relieve the anxiety about having an embarrassing leak.

Ask about available treatments such as the pessary device for women, tapes, sling procedures, indwelling catheters and injections to build the muscles in the urethral area, biofeedback monitors.

Discussion with Doctor

There are also medications which can suppress the contractions and relax an overactive bladder. Discuss all available options with your physician and the possible side-effects. Symptoms of a urinary tract infection could exacerbate the incontinence and are best treated without delay with antibiotics.

A severe case of urinary incontinence may require surgery. This entails expanding the capacity of the bladder so that it can hold a greater volume of urine. There are several other procedures that can be performed by a urologist and a gynecologist.

Do not delay a consultation with your doctor who will determine the course of action to investigate and ease the bladder incontinence. And remember, do not be bashful about discussing it. Your doctor will recommend the best treatment for you in keeping with your age and lifestyle.

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