Urinary incontinence (UI) is a much more common health problem than most people may perceive, health experts say, explaining that it has become a growing health concern not just among older men and women, but also of younger and middle-aged adults. In fact, statistics shows that it is one of the most stigmatized, under-reported, under-diagnosed, and under-treated health problems to affect 27 million adults in the United States and 200 million people worldwide.
Being incontinent may be recognized in various patterns, but stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is the most common form of UI to occur in adults, especially women, medical experts say. SUI, also known as effort incontinence, is the involuntary loss of urine prompted by activities that cause sudden pressure to the bladder such as coughing, laughing, sneezing, or heavy-lifting. Taking into account various important factors, women may address their symptoms through a variety of non-surgical treatment strategies including behavioral therapies alone or in combination with medications, or removable medical devices, depending on what the doctor deems viable for a certain patient.
Drink the right amount. Avoid irritating the bladder and increasing urination urges all at the same time by drinking just the right amount of fluids.
Lose extra weight. Shed a few extra pounds and keep one’s ideal weight in order to reduce overall pressure to the pelvic floor muscles and bladder.
Practice scheduled toilet trips. Minimize the chances of a SUI episode by establishing healthy voiding habits through going by the clock instead of the urge.
Pelvic floor muscle training exercises. Perform Kegel exercises for improved pelvic muscle strength.
Make important changes to your diet. Steer away from caffeinated, carbonated, alcoholic beverages and other foods and drinks that may cause irritation to the bladder. Adding high-fiber foods to one’s daily diet may also help reduce the stress the bladder may incur from constipation.
Lean towards a healthier lifestyle through cessation of smoking. Inhibiting severe persistent coughing and improving SUI symptoms as well as benefitting overall health may also mean letting go of detrimental habits such as cigarette smoking.
Anticholinergic drugs. Some types of anticholinergics help the muscle in the bladder wall to relax, allowing the bladder to properly fill, which in turn improves SUI.
Alpha-adrenergic agonists. This class of drugs may also be prescribed for SUI. They may help reduce SUI episodes by strengthening urethral muscles responsible for urine flow.
Estrogen therapy. Estrogen, which usually comes in cream, ring, or pill form, is reportedly used by some doctors in postmenopausal women. While it is not specifically indicated for SUI, estrogen strengthens urethral sphincter muscles and improves blood supply, helping improve SUI symptoms in older women, according to medical experts.
Vaginal pessary. A vaginal pessary is a great option for women who wish to avoid surgery, medical experts say. Placed into the vagina by a medical professional, this removable ring-shaped device is designed to provide support to the bladder and prevent urine leaks.
Urethral inserts. Similar to a vaginal pessary, urethral inserts act as a plug to prevent urine leakage, according to medical experts. These tampon-like devices are inserted through the urethra, which could be utilized to prevent incontinence for a specific activity or all-day use.
In addition to the physical challenges it may present, enduring urinary difficulties may also interfere with a woman’s day-to-day routine and social interaction, causing a great impact to psychological health, as well as quality of life. While most patients may wish to avoid going under the knife, in cases where symptoms are severe and frequently-occurring, a woman may be asked to undergo a surgical operation which may sometimes involve the use of surgical mesh slings.
Although they have been proven beneficial to certain patients, the use of vaginal mesh or bladder sling devices has been reported to cause serious complications in a large number of women, prompting some recipients to take a legal action in the hopes of a possible surgical pelvic sling product recall. To possibly mitigate added health risks, the United States Food and Drug Administration also advises women to take proactive measures by knowing the potential risks associated with pelvic slings and exploring other possible alternative options before submitting to surgery.
“Surgical sling products are sometimes used in surgery as treatment to severe pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) in women. The use of these medical devices, however, has been linked to a constantly growing number of adverse-effect events, as has been reported to the US FDA. Visit the Bladder Sling Recall Center at bladderslingrecall.us if you wish to know more about the potential harmful effects associated with surgical bladder slings.”
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