Urinary Incontinence

Urinary Incontinence: Everything you need to know

If you live in Ottawa and suffer from Urinary Incontinence, you are not alone. According to the Canadian Continence Foundation, approximately 12% of Canadians experience urinary incontinence, which equates to 120,000 in Ottawa. In this blog, I outline the different types of Incontinence, the risk factors and different strategies you can use to help your symptoms.

What is Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary Incontinence (sometimes called leaky bladder) is the involuntary discharge of urine. It is more common in women than men.

What are the risk factors that lead to Urinary Incontinence?

One risk factor is vaginal birth, particularly greater than one birth. Another risk factor is menopause when there is a weakening of tissues around the vagina due to a drop in estrogen.

There is also a genetic link to incontinence as population studies suggest that women whose other family members have incontinence are more prone to the same.

Types of incontinence

The first type of incontinence is called Stress Incontinence (SI). This type occurs when you’re doing something physical, like coughing, or sneezing, laughing, standing up, and exercising. SI is an anatomical problem due to the weakening of the tissue in and around the vagina and the bladder.

The second kind of incontinence is called Urge Incontinence (UI). UI is categorised by a sudden urge to go to the bathroom, but you just can’t make it in time. This kind of incontinence is more of a neurological problem as opposed to an anatomical problem.

The third kind of incontinence, which is the most common of all types, is called Mixed Incontinence (MI). This is a combination of SI and UI.

The final form of incontinence is called Overflow Incontinence (OI). OI happens when the bladder is full and can’t hold its contents any longer. Then it just releases urine on its own, and this can happen to any of us at any time when we ignore the urge to go.

How can we help Incontinence?

If incontinence is a problem for you then below is a list of steps you could take to help manage your symptoms.

Remove Diuretic Foods

Consider removing diuretic foods from your diet and see if that improves symptoms. The two biggest food diuretics are alcohol and caffeine. If there is little or no change, then you might consider removing all other diuretic foods, which includes: Apple cider vinegar, Artichokes, Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, Cranberry juice, Cucumber, dandelion, green tea, fennel, lettuce, nettle, oats, parsley, and melon.

Remove Inflammatory foods

Consider removing inflammatory foods starting with gluten, dairy and sugar, and eating a whole foods diet avoiding processed foods as much as possible. These foods may be causing irritation to your urinary tract.

Evaluate water intake

Of course, too much water intake is going to worsen incontinence in some individuals, but so is too little. Too little water causes the urine to be highly concentrated, and this too can irritate the bladder lining, leading to problems of incontinence. Also, if nighttime leakage is a problem, then try stop drinking water within two hours of bedtime.

Consider medications you are taking

Certain medications especially blood pressure pills can act as diuretics. If you are taking any medications consider asking your doctor or pharmacist whether they might be causing your incontinence.

Pelvic exercises

If incontinence is the result of pelvic muscle weakening then pelvic strengthening, known as Kegeling, can help. To exercise these muscles, just pull in or squeeze your pelvic muscles as if you were trying to stop urine flow and hold this squeeze for about 10 seconds, then rest 10 seconds. You can do sets of 10 to 20 contractions per day.

To learn more about kegeling, check out this video:

If you have any questions about this article either post them in the comments section below or email using the form on my contact page.


This article in not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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