Different women experience incontinence for different reasons. Stress incontinence is light bladder leakage that occurs in response to stress placed on the body. For instance, coughing, sneezing, laughing and exercising are all common causes of stress incontinence. While these are physical stressors, psychological stress can also play a role. So, whether you're working in a stressful job or dealing with a high-stress home situation, you may find that the urge to urinate becomes more frequent.
Urge incontinence, on the other hand, occurs when you have a sudden need to urinate because your bladder contracts or spasms at unexpected times. Some urge incontinence can be related to certain events - for instance, if you hear the sound of rushing water, you may suddenly feel the urge to urinate. Other causes of urge incontinence are less predictable and, in most cases, no specific cause can be found.
Stress incontinence can occur for a number of reasons. Here are a few of the top contributing factors and how to address them:
In most cases, the cause of urge incontinence can't be found, but certain lifestyle factors can play a part. For instance, certain dietary habits can cause bladder irritation that leads to spasms. For example, some people may experience bladder spasms after intaking caffeine, while other people may experience bladder irritation after eating spicy foods, citrus or artificial sweeteners. According to the Mayo Clinic, doctors aren't entirely sure why these reactions occur, but if you're experiencing urge incontinence, try cutting back on these types of foods for a week or so to see if you notice a difference.
Don't underestimate the power of fluid intake. It's not just those who drink too much that experience potential leakage - those who drink too little could experience incontinence as well. To prevent your bladder from becoming over- or under-taxed, drink fluids steadily throughout the day, aiming to consume roughly eight, 8-ounce glasses of water.
Sadly, dips in estrogen during perimenopause and menopause also affect bladder leakage. If you're approaching "the change," perform Kegels regularly and discuss other treatment options with your doctor.
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