Female Urinary Incontinence

The numbers are clear, it is estimated that about 600 000 people, mostly women, suffer from frequent loss of urine (urinary incontinence), only in Portugal. However, it is suspected that this number is much higher, since many people with this disorder do not inform health care professionals because of shame or a belief that this is a symptom inevitably caused by aging.

More common in seniors, may manifest at any age, depending on the etiology. The goings on a recurring basis to the bathroom and distress caused by the urge to urinate are some of the disorders of their own who lives hostage bladder.

Women and Urinary Incontinence: Definition and Classification
The cause of urinary incontinence is different, but in a way in general, due to the sudden contraction of the bladder muscle, relaxation of the muscles surrounding the urethra or the weakening of the pelvic muscles.

While 40% of women worldwide have already experienced at least one episode of urinary incontinence in their lives, Sonia Leal, General Practitioner and Coordinator of USF Citadel CS Cascais, explains "we mean only when we are faced with Urinary Incontinence a clinical case of involuntary loss, persistent and visibly demonstrated in urine. "

Among the risk factors emphasize the following: advanced age, Caucasian race, obesity, multiple vaginal deliveries, menopause, systemic conditions associated with increased intra-abdominal pressure, smoking, and prior hysterectomy.

The circumstance that leads to involuntary loss of urine Urinary Incontinence allows sorting into three major groups: Effort, when associated with actions that promote the increased abdominal pressure (eg coughing, lifting weights), Emergency (overactive bladder) resulting from unexpected contractions caused by anxiety or other stimuli, and, finally, Mixed, when combining several of the aforementioned types.

All women with involuntary urine loss should consult their physician for further clarification of the situation, because, Urinary Incontinence is always abnormal, interferes directly with the quality of life and has a solution in most cases. Can signal other more serious problems and underlying predisposing or aggravating other diseases.

The psychosocial impact of this condition and its diagnosis
Looking like a minor problem in women's health, it is noteworthy that urinary incontinence is personally and socially embarrassing and can have dramatic psychological repercussions. Occurs frequently a self-isolation, for fear that the smell of urine is made to note there are also reports a cause of unemployment and family breakdown. Being an unknown condition associated with aging and cumbersome, many women do not seek professional help, although they can be treated or controlled to 100%. Result? Only a fifth of patients affected enough to be observed and treated.

The diagnosis is usually quite easy, given by the patients themselves. This is based on clinical history, physical examination and diagnostic exams. These include the screening of urinary tract infections, by testing the urine, and a urodynamic study and where doubt in case of surgery. In women, it is still necessary to perform a pelvic examination to evaluate the possible presence of prolapse of the uterus (exteriorization of the uterus through the vagina), often causes associated with surgical treatment.

Treatment of Urinary Incontinence
"Faced with a first incident of loss of urine, it is advisable to search for a doctor, because it is quite exceptional the disappearance of incontinence spontaneously" said Dr. Sonia Leal. The first instance must be the doctor of family health, which will distinguish the type of Urinary Incontinence and indicate the best therapeutic approach. "This simple behavior helps a huge proportion of women who only come with some physical therapy to heal," he says. After evaluating and developing an exercise plan by a healthcare professional, from high, can and should be continuity in the training of the muscles at home. "It is important to continue to train the muscles to not lose the tone," indicates.

Depending on the cause of urinary incontinence, there are several treatments. For mild cases, measures such as urinating at regular intervals, avoid foods or drinks irritative bladder training or pelvic muscles can be effective. For cases of overactive bladder, there is medication in conjunction with training proves very effective. Urinary Incontinence in more serious may resort to a less aggressive surgery.

In the case of pregnant women, and in order to prevent the pelvic muscles and the perineum are affected by the stress of childbirth itself, the physical therapist Vanessa Costa Gallo Lifeclinic of Health Care in Cascais, advises a preventive mode before pregnancy or shortly after the onset of symptoms. The aim of prevention is to "train the pelvic floor of women for stress and dilation that will suffer." Women should make an assessment in order to know the status of your pelvic muscles.

Take note, given the diversity of therapeutic options for urinary incontinence and its high success rate there is no reason to continue to suffer in silence.

Make your appointment here. 

This article was published in Golden News Cascais magazine nº22 of december. 

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