What is urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence, a condition that commonly affects older individuals, is defined by a loss of bladder control. Urinary incontinence occurs when the bladder muscles are overactive and the sphincter muscles, which usually pinch the urinary tract shut, are too weak to prevent urine from leaking out.
Pressure caused by sneezing, laughing, or exercising can cause the bladder muscles to seize and result in leakage. A nerve control problem can also be to blame for urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence affects twice as many women as men, largely because it’s frequently associated with reproductive health events such as pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause. It’s also more common in older women, with more than 40% of women aged 65 and older affected.
What causes urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence isn’t a condition in and of itself; rather, it’s a symptom. It can be caused by a number of underlying medical conditions, lifestyle, or physical problems. Some of the underlying causes of urinary incontinence are easily fixable; for example, certain drinks and foods, including alcohol, caffeine, and acidic or spicy foods, can act as diuretics and increase urine volume. In addition, conditions like a urinary tract infection or constipation can cause urinary incontinence.
However, when patients have frequent and persistent urinary incontinence, it’s usually caused by a more serious condition or physical change. Neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, for example, can cause urinary incontinence, as can prostate cancer or an enlarged prostate.
Pregnancy, menopause, a hysterectomy, and childbirth are among the most common causes of urinary incontinence, contributing to its high occurrence among older women. Any changes or extra stress to the female reproductive system can also increase stress on the bladder, as the two are located close together.
The most common causes of urinary incontinence include:
- Neurological disorders
- Pregnancy and childbirth
Source: Mayo Clinic
Luna’s physical therapists treat urinary incontinence
Luna has physical therapists across the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Orange County who specialize in treating patients suffering from urinary incontinence. Our PTs will work with you to identify the cause of your urinary incontinence and create a physical therapy program designed to improve pelvic floor strength and reduce the volume and frequency of the incontinence.
Luna provides first-class physical therapy to patients with urinary incontinence — all without the hassle of trekking to and from the clinic. Our PTs treat patients in the comfort of their own homes.