Urinary incontinence means passing urine when you do not wish to. It may involve a large amount of urine, or only a few drops each time. It may happen on a daily basis, or only sporadically.
It is not a disease, but a symptom that can have a number of possible causes. Bladder leakage/urinary incontinence can occur at any age, in both men and women. That being said, women and older people are most commonly affected.
Incontinence can have a huge impact on the social lives of those affected. Normal, everyday things such as days out, sporting activities, parties etc. can become occasions to dread.
Time and again the same insecurities arise: am I properly protected, what if the wetness comes through my clothes, will anybody smell it,….
These insecurities can lead to a feeling of shame, and may result in social isolation for those affected.
Wearing disposable incontinence pads can cause skin irritation.
The psychological and physical impact of urinary incontinence cannot be overestimated.
The urinary system consists of the kidneys, which produce the urine, the ureters, the bladder and the urethra. From the kidneys, the urine travels via the ureters to the bladder, where the urine is stored.
The bladder of an adult person can theoretically hold 1500ml urine. However, most people can only hold in a maximum of around 800ml.
In practice, therefore, the bladder almost never gets fuller than this amount. Some people have the urge to pass water at a bladder volume of just 200ml.
With average fluid absorption, a person produces one to one and a half litres of urine each day, and passes water four to six times a day.
The most common forms of urinary incontinence are stress/extertional incontinence, urge incontinence and overflow incontinence.
Mixed forms of incontinence also occur.
Stress incontinence, also known as exertional incontinence, is the most common form of urinary incontinence.
Women are particularly affected by this.
This is bladder leakage which occurs upon coughing, sneezing, laughing, straining during a bowel movement, lifting things up, exercising or jumping, and even sometimes when walking briskly: in other words, when the abdominal muscles are suddenly tensed, increasing the pressure in the lower abdomen and therefore the pressure on the bladder. This includes, therefore, anything that puts pressure (stress) on the pelvic floor.
The cause of stress incontinence is poor functioning of the closing mechanism of the bladder. Mostly, weak pelvic floor muscles lie at the root of the problem.
Pelvic floor muscles can become weakened for a number of reasons: pregnancy and childbirth, following surgery or radiotherapy to the pelvis, age, hormonal changes…
Overweight people are also more frequently affected by stress/exertional incontinence.
This involves the sudden, irrepressible urge to pass water, sometimes resulting in the person not being able to reach the toilet in time.
This is caused by the involuntary contraction of the bladder muscle or an overactive bladder, leading to urine being squeezed out of the bladder.
It is the most common form of bladder leakage among men.
Urge incontinence, too, has many possible causes: bladder instability, surgery or radiation to the pelvis, enlarged prostate, neurological disorders, bladder polyps, bladder infection, infection elsewhere in the urinary tract, age, hormonal changes…
With this kind of incontinence, drops or small spurts of urine can leak out. Both men and women may be affected by overflow incontinence.
In women, overflow incontinence can occur due to a poorly functioning closure mechanism of the bladder. Because of this, the bladder is always slightly open, with the result that the urine leaks out drop by drop. Childbirth or gynaecological surgery can be the underlying cause. In women, overflow incontinence can also be a symptom of the menopause or may be caused by bladder prolapse, an enlarged uterus or ovaries, or a urinary tract infection.
Overflow incontinence among men is most commonly linked to problems with the prostate. The primary complaint is the leaking of drops of urine after going to the toilet.
This is a common problem among men between 30 and 80 years of age.
The medical term for this leaking of urine after passing water is ‘post micturition dribbling’ (PMD). This problem can lead to awkward situations, such as the sudden appearance of wet patches on clothing.
The dribbling of urine after passing water is caused by left over urine in the urethra. The urethra is a tube which runs from the bladder through to the penis, and can contain left over urine after going to the toilet. There are several potential causes of dribbling incontinence in men, such as weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, prostate problems, blood flow problems, after surgical procedures that affect the functioning of the bladder sphincters (the muscles that control the opening and closing of the bladder) and radiotherapy.
Mixed incontinence is the term used when multiple forms of incontinence occur together. For instance, some people have a combination of stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
Bladder leakage occurs in both men and women, but is twice as common in women than it is in men.
One in 4 women and 1 in 9 men will experience bladder leakage at some point in their lives.
Approximately 7 per cent are affected on a daily basis. The most common form (60%) is stress incontinence, sometimes referred to as exertional incontinence, meaning the leakage of urine during, for example, sneezing, laughing or physical exertion.
Stress/extertional incontinence occurs frequently in young women, especially following childbirth. Approximately 25% of young mothers are affected after the birth of their babies.
Urinary incontinence is not a disease and is not harmful in itself. However, it is extremely unpleasant for the person affected. Wet patches on clothing or unpleasant smells are the last things anybody needs. Due to a feeling of shame and embarrassment, feeling unclean, avoiding sexual contact and the fear that other people will notice the bladder leakage, the quality of life of those affected can decline dramatically.
People with urinary incontinence often postpone using appropriate incontinence material. They first look for another solution, such as going to the toilet very frequently, drinking as little as possible or using sanitary towels. Unfortunately, however, these interventions often make the situation worse, because they can cause new problems such as urinary tract infections, dehydration and skin irritation. The use of sanitary pads or panty liners is not recommended, because they are less suitable for absorbing urine, and can even slightly increase the risk of a bladder infection.
Disposable pads designed especially for bladder leakage are uncomfortable, expensive, and can cause skin irritation.
With bladder leakage, good and reliable incontinence material (often only temporarily) is indispensable It has to be comfortable and secure, but also discreet.
Fortunately, now available is the Penosa stylish, leak-free and washable underwear for people affected by bladder leakage!
These simple tips will help you to avoid or reduce urinary incontinence:
Penosa, the comfortable solution for bladder leakage!
There's nothing more humiliating than wetting your trousers at the age of 38. I felt so powerless and helpless, something I had never felt before in my life. And it didn't stop at just one time: more and more often I was experiencing bladder leakage and wet patches on my clothes. I tried to cover it up by wearing long jumpers and dark jeans. Whenever I left the house I was constantly on the look out for public toilets, and I drank as little as possible. I bought some plastic briefs which I wore over my underwear, but these weren't comfortable at all, especially not in hot weather! Since I have discovered Penosa, I'm back to my old self and feel happy in my skin again! Wet patches on my clothes and uncomfortable plastic underwear are things of the past!
Unrestrained movement, thanks to Penosa underwear.