There isn’t any one clinical test that definitively diagnoses urinary incontinence. Instead, your urologist will sit down with you and get a clear picture as to which symptoms you’re having and how severe they are. Lab work can be ordered, including a blood and urine analysis, to check for inflammatory markers, urinary tract infections, or bladder infections. Once your practitioner gets lab results back and rules out other possibilities that might be causing your problems, a treatment plan will be be put together for you.
There are five different types of urinary incontinence, so your symptoms will depend on which kind you have.
With functional incontinence, you probably have difficulty making it to the bathroom in time. This isn’t because of bladder issues. Rather, it’s a “functional” issue, like arthritis or an injury, that’s causing your difficulty.
If you have overflow incontinence, you probably leak small amounts of urine. This stems from an overly full bladder, because you can’t empty your bladder completely when you go to the bathroom. Overflow incontinence is most common in men who have an enlarged prostate, although prescription medications and diabetes can also cause it.
If you have stress incontinence, you’ve probably experienced losing some urine when you laugh, cough, or sneeze. This usually comes from having weak lower stomach or pelvic muscles. Women who have given birth often experience stress incontinence.
This is when you have two or more incontinence issues going on at the same time.
This involves continuous leaking of all urine.
Some forms of urinary incontinence can be managed with medication, but you’ll also likely have to do some things at home to manage your symptoms.
Many men and women benefit from doing regular Kegel exercises. This muscle-building exercise requires you to tighten and hold your pelvic floor muscles, then release. You’ll do several sets, several times per day, depending your your doctor’s recommendations.
Bladder training involves timing your bathroom trips, so you go at regular intervals. It sometimes includes managing your liquid intake, so you can start anticipating when you have to “go.”
If these remedies don’t work, your urologist might suggest surgery to correct the issue.
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