The bladder in your urinary system holds the urine until you are ready to release it, this works fine when the bladder works well without any leaks. Your normal jobs like car trips, work, school, shopping, exercise or enjoying a movie could be done without any breaks.
When the bladder is not healthy, people would need to use the bathroom frequently, nearly 6 to 8 times in a day, and also a risk of urine leak. This condition of the bladder which does not have the control to hold the urine and leading to urine leaks is known as urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence affects millions of people all over the world, which includes men, women, and children, and such people have a fear of being far from the bathroom also.
There are two types of urinary incontinence :
a). Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is a condition when a small to moderate amount of urine leaks out without control, when there is pressure on your bladder increase for example while coughing, sneezing or laughing.
b). Overactive Bladder is a condition when you would have to pass urine in urgency in which case the leaks could be moderate to large.
To understand the difference between SUI and OAB is that SUI is a urethral problem as the urethra cannot stop the sudden increase in pressure whereas OAB is a bladder problem when the bladder will spasm and squeeze uncontrollably.
When such a condition is present in anyone, it is advised to meet a healthcare provider who could help you manage your symptoms as well as treat the issue of urinary incontinence.
Facts About the Urinary Bladder
The bladder is made of elastic tissue that can stretch as the bladder fills and the muscle fibers can squeeze when you need to empty your bladder. The bladder stores the urine until you are ready to release it.
The urethra is a tube that carries the urine out of the body. Since it is being surrounded by sphincter muscles that help in closing the urethra thus stop the flow of urine and also ensure that there is no leakage of urine. The bladder and the urethra are held in place within the pelvis by the help of pelvic floor muscles and your facia.
When the bladder is full and you are ready to release the urine out of your body, the brain signals the bladder muscles to contract, i.e. squeeze out the urine, while simultaneously your sphincter muscles are instructed to relax and open. These actions cause the urine to be released through the urethra and the bladder is emptied.
Facts About SUI
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) happens when urine leaks out with sudden pressure on the bladder and urethra causing the sphincter muscle to open for a brief time. This sudden pressure or mild SUI could be because of forceful activities like coughing, exercise, laughing or coughing.
Sever SUI causes leaks with forceful activities such as standing, up, walking or bending, that can soak your clothes.
Women are more prone to SUI than men, although the symptoms of SUI may occur after a surgery or an injury.
Signs and Symptoms of an SUI
- You are afraid to be too far from the bathroom.
- You have stopped exercising or playing sports.
- Your lifestyle has changed since you are afraid of urine leakage.
- You feel uncomfortable with your body.
- Your symptoms of SUI have changed your relationship with friends and family.
- You are avoiding sex because you are worried of leakage and SUI would embarrass you.
Do know that SUI can be treated and there are ways how it can be managed. Just reach out to your healthcare officer for the best help.
Text: Urology Care Foundation