Urinary incontinence is unnoticed or involuntary urination. Women are affected by it far more frequently than men. Urinary incontinence can be very stressful in psychological terms and limit the patient's quality of life considerably. Depending on the cause of the urinary incontinence, there are different treatment options available.
If the urination is involuntary or unnoticed, this is known as urinary incontinence or aconuresis. Women in particular are affected by it. Doctors differentiate mainly between three forms of urinary incontinence: stress incontinence, which occurs when there is increased pressure in the abdomen. Urge incontinence is the most common form of urinary incontinence. The cause is often inadequate function of the sphincter muscle of the urethra due to weakness in the pelvic floor muscle. Pregnancy, excessive weight and age are known risk factors for such stress incontinence.
The second most common form is urge incontinence, also referred to as an irritated bladder. In this form, the regulation of the bladder muscle activity is damaged.
The third form is overflow incontinence, in which the bladder is always overfull due to an outflow disorder. Outflow incontinence occurs primarily in men who have an enlarged prostate. However, urinary incontinence can also occur in a mixed form. Thus, stress incontinence and urge incontinence often occur at the same time.
The symptoms of urinary incontinence vary, depending on the type of incontinence. Stress incontinence is characterised by urination due to increased pressure in the abdomen. For example, while sneezing, coughing, lifting heavy items or jumping. If the patient has an irritated bladder, the constant need to urinate is the main issue. Affected parties must go to the toilet frequently and often urgently. Involuntary urination is also common in such cases. Typical symptoms of overflow incontinence are the loss of drops of urine, which often goes noticed, along with incomplete emptying of the bladder when going to the toilet.
Various different examinations are used to diagnose urinary incontinence. They include ultrasound examinations, stress tests, urine examinations and urodynamic clarifications. In the case of the latter, the pressure and the flow in the outgoing urinary tract are measured,
The treatment depends on the form of urine incontinence. During stress incontinence, targeted training of the pelvic floor muscle alone is already helpful. If there is a pelvic floor prolapse, surgical treatment can be necessary. You can find out more in the pelvic floor weakness surgery section. Pelvic floor training is also a good idea for people with an irritated bladder. This is sometimes supported with targeted electrostimulation using fine electro needles. Hormone preparations and preparations which limit the activity of the bladder muscle are used in the medical treatment. In the event of overflow incontinence due to an enlarged prostate, the treatment focuses on the enlarged prostate. This can be done surgically or with medication.