Women who are overweight when they give birth appear to be at greater risk of developing ongoing stress urinary incontinence than those with a lower body mass index (BMI), a study has found.
A significant proportion of women develop incontinence either during their pregnancy, immediately after giving birth, or several years later.
There are several reasons for this, including damage to the nerves that control the bladder during pregnancy and childbirth, and the movement of the urethra and bladder to accommodate the growing baby.
These problems can lead to stress incontinence, in which the pelvic floor muscles become too weak to prevent urination, causing leakage when the woman’s bladder comes under pressure, such as when they cough, sneeze or laugh.
Scientists at Donostia Hospital in Guipuzcoa, Spain, set out to investigate factors that may increase the risk of persistent stress urinary incontinence during the first two years after giving birth.
They recruited 272 women, all of whom were pregnant for the first time, between April and October 2007.
Of these, 26 women (9.5 per cent) were still affected by stress urinary incontinence two years after giving birth.
In the majority of cases, the stress incontinence was slight or moderate and women reported that the impact on their quality of life was small.
When the scientists looked for possible risk factors, they found that the only one associated with an increased risk of persistent stress urinary incontinence was BMI.
Publishing their findings in the International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, the study authors concluded: “Higher BMI in pregnant women at term was an independent risk factor for the persistence of stress urinary incontinence from pregnancy to two years post-partum.”
A hospital in Surrey is holding an event aimed at raising awareness of female bladder problems, including adult incontinence and recurrent cystitis, on Thursday October 27th.
Women are invited to attend ‘Female Bladder Problems – What Every Woman Should Know’ in the St Bede’s Conference Centre at St Anthony’s Hospital, London Road, Cheam.
The event begins at 18:30 BST and will be led by consultant urological surgeon Rashmi Singh.
Ms Singh, who is one of three female urological surgeons in Surrey, revealed that up to 60 per cent of women are affected by adult incontinence, depending on their age.
She also noted that the condition is twice as common in women as in men.
“It can be an embarrassing problem for which women often avoid seeking medical attention, but it shouldn’t be as there are several treatments available such as medical therapies, physiotherapy and surgery,” Ms Singh explained.
“I will be discussing incontinence as well as other common bladder problems in women such as recurrent cystitis, prolapse and painful bladder syndrome.”
A medical expert has recommended the use of Botox as a treatment for urinary incontinence, explaining that the neurotoxin is a good option to consider for people suffering from the condition.
Speaking to health website healthwatchmd.com, Dr Anne Wiskind, a uro-gynaecologist at Piedmont Hospital in the US state of Georgia, explained that urinary incontinence is a common condition affecting millions of people in the US alone.
Although it is more common in women than in men, adult incontinence can affect both genders, and is often a symptom of other underlying conditions or a physical injury.
She explained there are two main types of the condition, with the first being stress incontinence, which is leakage from the bladder that can be caused by coughing, laughing or sneezing. Often this is the result of injury sustained during childbirth in women, she explained.
“The second type of incontinence is urge incontinence. This is when there is a leaking when you have the urge to go and cannot get to the bathroom fast enough,” the expert went on.
Previous research has indicated that Botox is affective at treating urinary incontinence, even in patients suffering from multiple sclerosis or spinal chord injuries who often find it hard to control their bladders for neurological reasons.
“The trick in all cases of incontinence is to correct the problem enough so patients don’t experience leakage, but not to overcorrect the problem so patients can’t void,” Dr Wiskind explained.
In August, Botox was approved for treatment of urinary incontinence in people suffering from these neurological conditions by the US Food and Drug administration.
Research indicated that injecting the substance into the bladder not only increases its capacity for urinary storage, but also helps reduce the symptoms of incontinence.
While adult incontinence can be treated with medication, some with moderate symptoms might prefer to use discrete incontinence pads.
Celebrity trainer Steve Halsall has offered some advice for older people wanting to get into exercise.
Recent research by Tena Men suggested that regular exercise can help manage conditions such as adult incontinence and so it is important to take note of these tips.
Mr Halsall recommended getting the green light from a doctor or fitness professional before beginning a regime and being tested for blood pressure, lung function and heart rate.
Taking it slowly and being patient with your programme is also important and he continued that it might be advisable to take advantage of gyms offering free personal training sessions.
In particular he advised that brisk walking, yoga and low level exercise classes are good for promoting mobility, flexibility, a good heart and strong bones.
“Never delay your decision to start, you are never too old. Always take care and listen to your body,” he also advised.
A new trial suggests that combination therapy for anal incontinence is more effective at dealing with the condition than current treatments.
Publishing their findings in Deutsches Arzteblatt International, researchers conducted a randomised trial designed to compare the effectiveness of different treatments for fecal incontinence, Science Daily reports.
Incontinence pads can help people with the condition to cope with the symptoms; however the research suggested that new methods of treatment could be effective.
Approximately one to two per cent of the population in Germany – where the research was conducted – suffer from anal incontinence, with weakness of pelvic floor muscles accounting for a large proportion of cases. Currently, treatments involve trying to restore control to the muscles responsible for controlling the bowels through targeted training with electrical stimulation.
However, the research suggested that such physical stimulation is not enough to effectively train all of the muscles required for continence. Furthermore, the standard treatment – low-level electric stimulation – can be painful for patients.
Instead, the news provider reports that the authors of the review suggested combination therapy, also known as triple-target treatment. This involves treating the different muscle groups with different levels of stimulation, which is less painful than the low-frequency solution and has also been shown to restore continence in 50 per cent of patients receiving treatment.
Meanwhile, the Association for Continence Advice (ACA) has published new guidance designed to educate teenagers about the importance of exercising their pelvic floors before the symptoms of incontinence appear.
Maintaining a strong pelvic floor not only helps combat faecal incontinence, it can also help people with bladder control as well.
The pelvic floor tends to weaken as people get older, so the ACA hopes that its new advice will encourage more people to start pelvic floor exercises at an earlier age.
Open to all healthcare professionals, the ACA seeks to promote continence and the better management of incontinence.
Speaking up about urinary incontinence can help people to cope with their condition, even though it can be embarrassing to do so.
According to canoe.ca, talking about conditions, even the embarrassing ones, is important because they can usually be managed, treated or cured, but only if your doctor knows about them in the first place.
What’s more, incontinence can be caused by a number of medical conditions not related to the bladder, so often addressing the symptoms can help you identify an underlying cause.
The news provider stated: “Your doctor can find out what is causing your incontinence and what can be done to treat it. This can give you a better sense of control over your condition and the confidence to speak with others.”
It urged those feeling embarrassed to remember that doctors are professionals who are there to help.
One condition that can cause incontinence is surgery for prostate cancer, with new research suggesting that patients who are older when they go under the knife are more likely to suffer from post-surgical complications, such as male incontinence.
The Association for Continence Advice (ACA) has published a new leaflet which aims to educate teenagers about their pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor muscles run from the pubic bone at the front to the base of the spine at the back, forming a sling that holds the bladder and urethra in place.
Maintaining strong pelvic floor muscles is important for bladder control, as urine is released when the muscles relax.
A person’s pelvic floor muscles weaken as they get older, increasing the risk of urinary incontinence and causing some people to rely on incontinence supplies, such as Tena Lady for women or Tena Men for those with male incontinence.
Many people do not start exercising their pelvic floor muscles until they are already experiencing stress incontinence.
But experts want to encourage more people to start pelvic floor muscles at an earlier age, thereby reducing their chances of problems in the future.
The new ACA booklet, which is available from the association’s website, is specifically designed to teach teenagers about the importance of maintaining the strength of their pelvic floor muscles.
As well as providing information on the pelvic floor and causes of muscle weakening, the leaflet contains useful tips on how to exercise the pelvic floor muscles to help maintain or restore their strength.
NHS experts advise both men and women to do pelvic floor exercises on a regular basis.
To begin with, people need to learn how to locate their pelvic floor muscles, which can be felt by attempting to stop the flow of urine.
In order to strengthen these muscles, people should squeeze and relax them ten to 15 times, eventually holding each squeeze for a few seconds at a time.
The number of squeezes can be increased each week and people should start to notice the benefits – including improved continence – within months.
Men who undergo surgery for prostate cancer at a late age appear to have an elevated risk of post-surgical complications, such as male incontinence, compared with their younger counterparts, a new study has found.
Prostate surgery is already known to increase the risk of urinary incontinence, as the nerves surrounding the gland can be damaged during the procedure.
For this reason, many men choose not to have surgery unless their tumour is growing aggressively.
Scientists in the US and Germany, recently conducted a study which discovered that the risk of incontinence and other complications may be greater among surgical patients who are over the age of 75.
The researchers analysed data on 115,554 patients, all of whom underwent a surgical procedure called open radical prostatectomy between 1998 and 2007.
Of these, 2,109 (1.8 per cent) were 75 years of age or older.
Publishing their findings in the journal BJU International, the study authors revealed that over-75s were more likely to need blood transfusions and were more likely to experience post-surgical complications.
Seventeen per cent of older men experiencing complications following their operation, compared with just 12 per cent of younger men.
The researchers concluded that adverse outcomes were “more often recorded in the elderly”.
Lead researcher Dr Quoc-Dien Trinh, a urologist at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, was interviewed by Reuters news agency about the team’s findings.
He told the news agency that the higher rate of complications among older study participants was unsurprising.
The expert also noted that treating early-stage prostate tumours can do more harm than good, as men can be put at increased risk of male incontinence when their tumour might have been slow-growing and non-life-threatening.
Dr Trinh told Reuters: “Radical prostatectomy in men aged 75 or older should be an exceptional event.
“They should at least seek the care of an expert surgeon/institution, especially when we know that they are at higher risk of complications than their younger counterparts.”
Bladder weakness and male incontinence affect more men in the UK than people realise, an expert has claimed.
Many people regard urinary incontinence as a predominantly female condition, because it is often associated with a history of childbirth.
However, Zoe Brimfield, brand manager for Tena Men incontinence pads, revealed that male incontinence and bladder weakness is more common than people think, with one in nine men in the UK experiencing the condition to some extent.
“That’s around 3.6 million men – enough to fill the stadium at Twickenham 44 times over and Lord’s Cricket Ground 128 times over,” she pointed out.
Ms Brimfield noted that bladder weakness can seriously affect a man’s quality of life, leading them to feel isolated and embarrassed about their condition.
But she revealed: “Tena Men pads specifically designed for male bladder weakness can help men feel fresher, more comfortable and ultimately more confident.”
Experts have advised men to exercise regularly in order to improve their overall health and help manage conditions such as bladder weakness.
Recent research by incontinence pads brand Tena Men found that the majority of middle-aged men do not take enough exercise.
Government health experts recommend we do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on five days per week or more.
But an online survey of 1,008 British men, conducted on behalf of Tena Men, found that two-thirds of over-45s do not meet these exercise guidelines.
The poll also revealed that only one in three men regard themselves as physically fit compared to other men in their age group.
The findings are perhaps surprising considering British men’s love of sports, but it seems that many would rather watch it than participate.
In addition, the survey revealed that many middle-aged men are worried about their overall health – something that could be improved through regular exercise.
Nearly half of respondents said they were worried about developing cancer; more than a quarter were concerned about their prostate health; and one in three dreaded the thought of developing bladder weakness or male incontinence.
Dr Hilary Jones, a spokesman for Tena Men’s ‘Time to Tackle Your Health Campaign’, said: “It is important that men place more importance on their health, especially as they get older.
“A common condition that men experience as they age is bladder weakness, which can be linked to an enlarged prostate or can be triggered by a range of medical conditions as well as other lifestyle factors.”
One person who has benefited from the combination of pelvic floor muscle strengthening exercises and incontinence pads is Denton Wilson, a 54-year-old bodybuilder from Sheffield, who developed bladder weakness following surgery for prostate cancer.
He revealed: “I was introduced to Tena Men pads and started using them to manage the condition.
“Once I started doing pelvic floor muscle strengthening exercises (kegel exercises) and using the pads in combination, things got a lot better for me.”