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Urge incontinence in women

TENA Women lifestyle, Two female friends hiking togheter
It’s a fact that many women experience an urge to urinate frequently. For them, feeling compelled to plan their life around bathroom visits is a familiar and depressing part of their daily routine. This urge can occur even though they may just have been to the toilet and can also cause them to wake several times during the night to urinate. Below, we answer common questions on this condition and present some great tips to help you deal with the symptoms of urge incontinence and take back control of your life. 

What are the symptoms of urge incontinence?

There are several different types of female incontinence. As the name suggests, urge incontinence describes a sudden and pressing need to urinate, leading to involuntary leakage of urine. This is caused by the bladder contracting when it shouldn’t, causing urine to leak through the muscles holding it closed. 

What causes urge incontinence in women?

In many cases, it’s difficult to say exactly what causes urge incontinence. It could be one or a combination of several factors such as a bladder infection, inflammation, an obstruction of the bladder opening or stones in the bladder or kidney. More serious conditions such as an injury to the nervous system can also be a cause. If you suspect you have urge incontinence or any other type of incontinence, talk to your doctor.

Urge Incontinence Treatments

Many women who experience urge incontinence learn to manage their condition without treatment. However, if urge incontinence is having a negative affect on your daily routine and quality of life, we recommend you consult with a healthcare professional. Treatments can vary, depending on what causes the urge urinary incontinence, severity of the problem and other factors. These include medical treatments. If your doctor does not consider these suitable or necessary, they may recommend a self-help program you can carry out at home. 

Our self-help guide to urge incontinence

Urge incontinence doesn’t need to dominate your lifestyle. There are several steps you can take to manage its symptoms. 
 
Monitor your drinking habits
Start by considering what you drink. Fluid that contains caffeine such as energy drinks, coffee and some teas can cause the inner lining of the bladder to become irritated, causing urgency feelings. Other factors such as urinary tract infection and bladder stones can also cause irritation on the inside of the bladder and lead to feelings of urgency. 
 
How much you drink is also important. When it comes to fluid intake and urge incontinence, bear the following in mind – 
  • Drinking too much leads to large amounts of urine (polyuria) and can therefore cause urgency feelings and frequent visits to the toilet as the bladder quickly becomes full. Diabetes with high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) may cause increased thirst and large amounts of urine. Better control of diabetes thereby reduces urinary incontinence.
  • Low fluid intake can cause urgency feelings. Avoiding drinking to reduce feelings of urgency only makes the problem worse as the urine gets too concentrated, irritates the bladder lining and results in smelly urine and urge symptoms. Dehydration is also a risk factor for constipation, which carries a known risk of contracting a urinary infection. 
 
In terms of dietary changes, try to increase your fibre intake as this prevents constipation, which reduces pressure on the bladder. 
 
Kegel or pelvic floor exercises
Kegel or pelvic floor exercises are proven to be an effective and popular method of self-treatment. By focusing on strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, many women find that they can resist the urge to urinate and decrease the frequency of their toilet visits. One of the main benefits of Kegel or pelvic floor exercises is the fact they require no special equipment and can be done anywhere, anytime – even on the bus or train or in a meeting. 
 
Bladder retraining
Bladder retraining is a self-help method that assists you in increasing control over the bladder by reducing the frequency of urination. It can be an effective way of dealing with the symptoms of urge incontinence as well as overactive bladder and stress incontinence 
 
Bladder retraining involves –
 
  • Increasing awareness of patterns of incontinence
  • Developing new habits for emptying and controlling the bladder
  • Behavioural modification, including avoiding ‘just in case’ toilet visits
  • Lifestyle and dietary tweaks, as mentioned above
  • Training the bladder to hold increasingly larger amounts of urine
  • Kegel or Pelvic Floor exercises 

TENA products for urge incontinence

Learning to deal with incontinence involves listening to your body, increasing your knowledge of the condition and consulting with a healthcare professional if required. Whether you need medical treatment or a self-help program, TENA pads, pants and other products help you deal with the symptoms of urge incontinence and urine leakage discreetly and effectively, keeping you secure and comfortable and letting you live the life you want.