Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine. The affected person has a sudden, compelling need to urinate, but is unable to hold urine. Leakage may occur when sneezing, laughing, exerting oneself or exercising. It is a hygienic, social and psychological problem, as it affects the patient’s daily activities and reduces his or her quality of life. Incontinence is not a disease in itself, but the consequence of an alteration in the bladder filling phase that occurs in many pathologies. It is more common among women, children (enuresis) and the elderly, affecting more than 15 percent of those over 65 years of age who are not institutionalized and 35 percent of those admitted to hospitals.
The prevalence of urinary incontinence in Spain is 15% in women and 11.6% in men. The ageing population is a risk factor for urinary incontinence, especially in the form of an overactive bladder. The most common cause is usually when the pressure inside the bladder is greater than the pressure in the urethra. This condition may be due to an overactive extruder muscle.
The main reasons are:
- Neurological problems or damage.
- Due to an alteration of the external sphincter and the pelvic floor muscles.
- Because of internal sphincter failure due to inappropriate relaxation or organic injury.
The main symptom of urinary incontinence is the loss of urine when coughing and sneezing, physical activity or sexual intercourse. And for prevention, there are some measures that can help
delay the onset of urinary incontinence, as well as prevent it.
Some of the tips to keep in mind are:
- Follow a balanced diet, such as the Mediterranean diet. Avoid overweight and obesity, this will reduce intra-abdominal pressure.
- Reduce the consumption of drinks such as coffee, soft drinks and carbonated drinks, alcohol and citrus fruits, among others.
- Avoid spicy foods.
- Increase fiber intake to avoid constipation.
- Reduce consumption of diuretic products and medications, because this will make you less likely to urinate.
- Avoid drinking four to two hours before going to bed.
- Do not push when urinating. This will prevent damage to the pelvic floor muscles.
- Do not drink before exercising.