Incontinence is one of the most common problems among women these days. A treatable disorder, whose main symptom is frequent urination and leakage. An overactive bladder and incontinence affects 12 million North American women.
Incontinence occurs when the urethra loses support from the vaginal walls. Overactive bladder is closely linked to incontinence, and is characterized by such symptoms as frequent urination, insomnia due to the urge to urinate at night, urine leakage, and even bed-wetting. An overactive bladder is often caused by bladder stones, surgery or neurological disease. Among the main risk factors for incontinence are excessive weight, smoking, pregnancy, stress and infections of the bladder, such as cystitis.
Aside from being a physical health issue, incontinence and suffering with an overactive bladder can result in emotional and mental health issues. Frequent urination can be an embarrassing problem. As a result, many women who suffer from incontinence become socially inactive, abandoning social activities. Many women even stop seeing other people.
Childbirth is a major cause of incontinence, with age and menopause contributing to the problem. Vaginal childbirth frequently causes pelvic damage because the pressure of the fetal head displaces and stretches parts of the pelvic anatomy, most specifically, the vaginal walls. With the onset of menopause women can become estrogen deficient which can cause the vagina to thin which prevent the urethral walls from closing well. This lack of closure translates into incontinence.
There is no unique treatment strategy for incontinence and overactive bladder. You can prevent leakage of urine temporarily using diapers and pads, or even undergo a surgery. For bladder infections, there are a number of traditional and herbal remedies, such as cleaver or Marshmallow root teas that help toning bladder muscles.
Incontinence and other bladder problems don’t necessarily have to be treated with medications. Pelvic muscles can be strengthened and toned, just like any muscle in the body, to prevent spontaneous urine leakage. These exercises, called after the doctor Kegel who invented them, are often prescribed to pregnant women. In the same time, Kegel exercises can tighten the muscles that control stream of urine. You can locate these muscles by stopping and starting the flow of urine.
Women, who are already being treated for incontinence, can start doing 3 sets of 50-60 repetitions of Kegel exercises a day. Then, as the muscles strengthen, women can do as much as a hundred Kegels a day – not at one time, of course! Quite conveniently, Kegel exercises can be easily done everywhere, as they are completely invisible. There are even vaginal weights to be used when doing Kegel exercises.
You can develop your own Kegel routine by adding variations of exercise, such as elevation Kegels or holding the pressure for a few seconds. Women who practice Kegels admit that these simple exercises have the added benefit of greatly improving their sex life.
The most important message for women who suffer from any form of urinary incontinence is that in 80 to 90 percent of people it can be significantly improved or even cured.