Have you ever seen the commercial on TV where it says: “gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now?” That commercial pretty much sums up Urinary Urge Incontinence (UI).
UI and overactive bladder (OAB) go hand in hand. Women with OAB feel like they always have to go to the bathroom. They could go 15 to 20 times a day, and still get up 5 to 10 times a night to go. They constantly have the urge to go, even if only a little urine comes out. UI occurs when these women actually lose urine when trying to make to the bathroom or due to their bladder urgency.
What is happening is the bladder is having an uncontrolled contraction, or spasm, which is causing the patient to feel the urge to urinate. In some instances, the urine actually leaks out. Many women with this condition are either too afraid to leave the house for fear of wetting themselves, or spend thousands of dollars a year on protective barrier pads to absorb the urine. This can cause irritation or chafing of the skin which can even lead to skin breakdown and infection. Some women can even fall when trying to get to the bathroom, especially at night, and those with weaker bones can break a wrist or even a hip.
Thankfully there are things you can do if this is a problem you have!
There are lifestyle and dietary changes that can help with this problem. Women can try to empty their bladders more frequently and on a timed schedule. Women can eliminate bladder irritants, such as caffeine, alcohol, spicey and acidic foods. Some medications can make the situation worse, such as diuretics. Women can talk with the prescribing physician to see if perhaps another drug could accomplish the same thing as the diuretic.
There is physical therapy for the bladder as well. The bladder can actually be retrained by something called biofeedback.
There are multiple anticholinergic medications on the market. Oxytrol patch is now even available over-the-counter. These medications relax the muscles in the wall of the bladder to help decrease the amount of bladder contractions, thereby decreasing the urgency and loss of urine. The biggest side effects of these medications include constipation and dry mouth. Some women cannot take these medications due to other medical conditions. There is also a newer drug on the market which can increase the bladder’s capacity to store urine.
Finally, there is an implantable device that stimulates nerves in the sacrum to aid with overactive bladder and urinary urge incontinence.
Loss of urine can come from various conditions, but Urge Incontinence is one that luckily has many treatment options.
Dr. Deb Herchelroath