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Have you sneezed hard and found that you can’t control your bladder? You are not alone in facing this problem – over one in five Indian women experience urinary incontinence. The problem is more prevalent among women aged 60 and above, with nearly 43% experiencing it.

Due to the nature of the condition, many women do not discuss it with their doctors and instead choose to take action into their own hands by using adult diaper brands such as Friends overnight diaper pants, they make use of home remedies, and exercises to provide them temporary relief. However, with more awareness, many women can obtain a long-term solution.

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Types of incontinence:

Urinary incontinence is of different types, depending on the cause:

  • Stress incontinence:It is the most common type, accounting for nearly 73% of cases. Urine leaks when the bladder is stressed – for, e.g., when you sneeze, cough, laugh, or exercise.
  • Urge incontinence:When you have a sudden and frequent urge to urinate, but you cannot control your bladder until you reach the bathroom, it is known as urge incontinence. It can be caused due to an infection, or diabetes, or more serious neurological issues.
  • Mixed incontinence:When incontinence is caused due to more than one reason, such as a combination of stress and loss of bladder control, it is known as mixed incontinence. It is the second most common type of incontinence.
  • Overflow incontinence:Sometimes, your bladder may be unable to empty itself completely. Consequently, urine constantly dribbles out in small amounts.
  • Functional incontinence: Women with arthritis and other conditions that hinder their mobility may not be able to make it to the toilet in time to relieve themselves properly. Consequently, they experience what is known as functional incontinence.

Risk factors:

Studies have observed that the following factors are significantly associated with developing incontinence in women:

  • Age:Women above the age of 40 are more likely to report frequent urination as well as incontinence.
  • Childbirth:Women who have had one or more vaginal deliveries are more prone to experiencing stress incontinence in their 40s.
  • Menopause: Researches show a higher prevalence of all types of incontinence among women who have undergone menopause.
  • Obesity: Women with a higher body mass index (greater than 25) are more likely to experience stress and mixed incontinence.
  • Tobacco and Tea consumption: If you are a habitual tea drinker or smoker, you may have a higher chance of all types of urinary incontinence. In the case of tobacco smokers, it is believed that frequent coughing permanently alters the muscle structure of their urethral sphincters, leading to stress incontinence. The same channel is observed in women with chronic lung diseases.

How can you manage it?

While treatment for each type of incontinence varies, you may adopt certain methods to deal with incontinence on a day-to-day basis.

  • Adult diapers and pads: Good quality adult diapers, such as the Friends overnight diaper pants, are lightweight, highly absorbent, and can mask any odor.
  • Incontinence underwear:If you prefer reusable solutions to incontinence, you can opt for cotton underwear with inbuilt absorbing pads. Some absorbing underwear is disposable and thus cheaper.
  • Protective bedspreads:Many women experience incontinence at night. In that case, you can buy protective pads and place them on the bed. They are generally disposable.
  • Exercise:As weight is a significant contributor to incontinence, it is a good idea to exercise regularly and control your BMI. Additionally, exercises that are meant to strengthen your pelvic region can help you regain some bladder control.
  • Diet:A diet rich in fiber can promote healthy bowel movements and reduce the pressure on your bladder.

In summary

Urinary incontinence is a common problem troubling nearly half of women over the age of 60. It is treatable with medicine and surgery and manageable with pads and diapers. If you are suffering from incontinence, do consult your doctor and find a course of treatment best suited for you.

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