Is stress urinary incontinence a normal part of aging?
Involuntary urine loss is never considered normal. There are various risk factors associated with stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Careful epidemiological trials have shown that middle-aged women are at greater risk from stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Symptoms fluctuate with time, but when lower urinary tract (LUT) anomalies persist, they require the appropriate study and treatment.
- Does stress urinary incontinence get worse as one gets older?
Age-associated changes in the bladder and structures of the pelvic floor contribute to the worsening of stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Furthermore, the menopause and lack of esterogen, together with other medical problems associated with aging, such as diabetes and dementia, can also cause stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
- What is the cause of stress urinary incontinence?
This consists of the involuntary loss of urine due to effort, exercise, sneezing or coughing. Incontinence occurs when pressure inside the urethra is greater than that in the bladder. The underlying cause may reside in the hypermobility of the neck of the bladder and the urethra because it lacks extrinsic support (vagina and pelvic floor). Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) may also be due to an intrinsic defect of the urethral sphincter as a result of neuromuscular problems.
- Does slimming help to solve stress urinary incontinence?
Some research has shown that there is a correlation between excess weight, body mass index and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). The excess weight of an obese patient is transmitted to the structure of the pelvic floor, which becomes distended. The muscles and conjunctive tissue become weakened. As as result, the neck of the bladder or the urethra undergo hypermobility, which leads to urine loss during intrabdominal pressure increase.
- Can a special diet alleviate stress urinary incontinence?
It is very important to be careful about what one eats and drinks. An excessive intake of liquids is to be avoided, since it only aggravates the symptoms. However, a radical reduction of liquid intake is not recommended either, because the bladder is sensitive to low volumes of liquid. It is advisable to drink between 1.5 to 2 litres a day. Constipation also predisposes to stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and should therefore be avoided. A healthy, well-balanced diet and sometimes the ingestion of laxatives can assist in curing constipation.
- Should I restrict physical activity?
The prevalence of stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is greater in young female athletes than in those women who do normal physical exercise. Physical activities that raise abdominal pressure may lead to episodes of stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Nevertheless, some physical exercise is necessary for general health and therefore stress urinary incontinence should not restrict all physical activity.
- Should I stop smoking?
No direct correlation between smoking and urinary incontinence (UI) has been clearly established. Nevertheless, smoking involves a high risk of pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases, which irreversibly increase abdominal pressure, and in turn raise the risk of urinary incontinence (UI) symptoms.
- Is stress urinary incontinence a disorder that runs in the family?
Most of the causes of stress urinary incontinence (SUI) are not related to genetic predisposition, except for muscular dystrophy, which is rare. However, some predispositional or decompensating factors (such as obesity, diabetes mellitus, dementia) may tend to run in the family, and thus various members of the same family may suffer from stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
- Why did my stress urinary incontinence start after giving birth?
This is very common in pregnant women due to the growth of the uterus and the size it may reach, with the subsequent pressure on the bladder. Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) often recedes after pregnancy, but may persist after childbirth and at some times later. Childbirth involves considerable exertion of the pelvic floor and the lower urinary tract, and any damage to these structures can cause stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
- What is the result of pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT)?
It strengthens the muscles of the pelvic floor and increases support to the urethra and vesical wall, which can help to avoid stress urinary incontinence (SUI), although this still remains to be demonstrated.
- Should I continue with my pelvic floor muscle training now that my stress incontinence condition has improved?
The guidelines for pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) should be adapted to each patient in accordance with the condition of her muscles. The main drawback is that the patient frequently starts off by doing the exercises regularly and then gradually becomes less disciplined. For this reason, pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) should be kept up regularly for an indefinite period of time.
- Is surgery the only form of treatment for stress urinary incontinence?
Research into the causes of stress urinary incontinence (SUI) still needs to be done. In many cases we have conservative measures for treating stress urinary incontinence (SUI) before considering surgery. Conservative treatment is based on modifications to lifestyle habits. Furthermore, pharmacotherapy may be tried before recourse to surgery.
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