Bladder control is a finely tuned process in our body. During urination, muscles in the bladder contract to move urine into the urethra, while muscles around the urethra and bladder neck relax to pass urine out of the body. At other times, the muscles in the bladder neck remain tight to prevent leaking of urine.
When these muscles and their nerve supply don’t work the way they should, urine can leak – which is known as incontinence.
Stress incontinence occurs when there is increased pressure (stress) on the bladder, such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercise. It is the most common form of incontinence in women, and is often due to weak pelvic floor muscles. (Link to previous article on pelvic floor disorders)
Urge incontinence is when people develop a sudden urge to pass urine and are unable to hold it in before they reach the toilet. This tends to be a recurring issue, and not a once off incident due to factors such as the distance to the toilet or drinking too much water. As a result, many get into the habit of visiting the toilet frequently in order to avoid incontinence.
People with diabetes, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and other nerve-related disorders are at higher risk of urge incontinence.
Overflow incontinence happens when urine leaks from a bladder that is full. People with overflow incontinence usually also have frequent urination during the day and night, and a slow or weak urine stream. It is common in men with prostate enlargement, which obstructs the flow of urine from the bladder, and also in people with spinal cord injuries or other nerve-related disorders.
Some people have mixed incontinence, which is due to two or more different underlying causes of incontinence mentioned above.
If you suspect that you have symptoms of incontinence, seek a consultation with our doctors for further assessment and treatment advice. You can contact us at +65 68368386 for book enquiries or if you have further questions. Healthsprings Laser and Aesthetic Clinic (Orchard) is at 541 Orchard Road, #11-01 Liat Towers, Singapore 238881.