The Pharmacy offers sound practical and discreet advice on managing incontinence. We stocks a comprehensive range of products to assist with incontinence care.
This happens when you are not always in control of your bladder and you have a leak of urine (pass water). This can cause a lot of anxiety especially if it occurs in public and may cause a hygiene problem. Some women may also have a leak of urine during sex or need to get up during the night to pass water.
Incontinence happens four times more commonly in women than in men. At least 16% of women experience some incontinence by the age of 75 years. It can also occur though in much younger women.
All in all incontinence can cause devastating effects on life as a whole and make it much more difficult for sufferers to work, travel and enjoy an active social life.
Urine is produced by the kidneys and collected in the bladder, which expands like a balloon as it fills. When full, the bladder empties to the outside through a narrow tube called the urethra.
Most people need to pass water every three to four hours during the day and up to once or twice in the night. Normally, the muscular wall of the bladder has to contract (tighten) at the same time as a valve mechanism at the opening of the bladder relaxes. Most incontinence in adults results from problems with one or other, or a combination, of these processes.
- Stress incontinence
Stress incontinence is much more common in women than men. This is when you accidentally leak urine during every day activities, when there is an increase in pressure from within the abdomen (tummy) such as when coughing, sneezing, laughing or carrying heavy weights. It develops when the normal control mechanism for keeping the outlet of the bladder (urethra) closed is weakened. This can happen when the urethra moves down, out of the normal position (prolapses). This can be brought on by childbirth, hysterectomy and during the menopause, when the pelvic floor muscles are weakened
- Urge incontinence/ Over Active Bladder
With this type, there is a strong urge to pass frequent, small amounts of urine. This is caused by the muscle of the bladder wall known as the detrusor muscle – being overactive. This means it contracts to squeeze out urine before the bladder is completely full.
Urge incontinence can also be caused by a bladder infection. Diabetes can cause excessive production of urine and very frequent trips to the toilet
- Mixed incontinence
Some women get both urge and stress incontinence. The two may or may not be linked
- Overflow incontinence
This happens when urine held by the bladder builds up to the point where the bladder can no longer expand. It can be caused by an obstruction in the urinary tract or damage to the nerves that supply the bladder
- Other causes of incontinence:
Medication – The side-effects of some drugs for high blood pressure such as prazosin and doxazosin, and muscle relaxants like diazepam can include incontinence
Problems with the urinary system such as fistulas (abnormal openings between the ureters, urethra or bladder into the uterus or vagina), and bladder stones.
Speak to your Pharmacist who will offer practical and discreet advice.