Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health
Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health

Urinary Incontinence

What is urinary incontinence?

Kegel Exercise prevention and treatment for urinary incontinence

What is urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is any involuntary leakage of urine. It is a common problem which can have a profound impact on one's quality of life. Difficulty with bladder control can cause depression and limited social activity. It may mean having to plan any trip or outing around access to toilets.

Urinary incontinence is usually treatable. Often it has a large psychological component, with the sufferer losing confidence. There is almost always poor muscular control. Getting back to normal involves practising using the muscles, and strengthening them with exercises.

The psychology of incontinence is also important. It is possible to feel an urgent need to pee, but then to get distracted and busy, and to discover an hour later that you did not pee and there was no incontinence. Once this happens several times there is a profound understanding that the need to pee was an habitual anticipation rather than a genuine need. When you are out and feel the need to pee, notice how the need becomes stronger as you arrive home or get nearer to a toilet?

Incontinence can occur at any age, but is more common in the elderly. One in three women over the age of 60 have some incontinence problems, but only half as many men. It is one of the most common reasons old people go into care facilities.

For men, an enlarged prostate is the most common case of frequent urination and incontinence after the age of 40.

Obesity and diabetes are often associated with incontinence, but do not necessarily cause it. Several conditions such as diabetes can cause excessive drinking of fluids, and in turn higher production of urine. However, this does not necessarily cause incontinence.

Brain disorders like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, strokes and spinal cord injury can interfere with nerve function and control of the bladder.

Kegel Exercise prevention and treatment for urinary incontinence

Named after Dr Arnold Kegel, these exercises contract and relax the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor. They improve muscle tone by strengthening the pubococcygeus and other muscles.

Kegel exercises may be used by pregnant women, for treating vaginal prolapse, or preventing uterine prolapse. For men, they are used for treating prostate pain and swelling resulting from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostatitis. Kegel exercises also increase sexual performance.

Two exercises to practice are:

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