Uncontrolled urine loss can affect anyone, but is more common in postmenopausal women. They are benign, but may reveal an underlying disease. It is advisable to consult when there are large leaks or when incontinence becomes too troublesome on a daily basis.
There are three types of bladder weakness:
- Stress incontinence: leaks are triggered by laughter, coughing, sneezing or sports. It is due to a weakening of the perineal muscles. Childbirth, overweight or constipation can be the cause.
- Emergency incontinence: This is manifested by an urgent need to urinate. The bladder malfunctions and contracts excessively. This is called the “wrestling bladder”. It is often secondary to bladder irritation, due to urinary tract infection, stones or tumours. Enlargement of the prostate gland can also be responsible.
- Mixed incontinence: This form of incontinence combines the two types above.
In cases of urinary incontinence, the doctor will first listen to the patient, to determine when the leaks occur and how important they are. If the urine loss is significant, he will carry out a check-up including the following tests:
- A urine test to detect a possible infection.
- An endoscopic examination of the bladder to analyze its condition.
- A scanner to exclude other causes.
If treatments do not work or in young patients, the doctor performs an urodynamic examination that records the pressure in the bladder. This determines whether it is emergency or stress incontinence.