October 18, 2014
The urethra is the short tube through which urine passes from your bladder to exit your body. It’s normally kept closed by muscles and tissues surrounding it. However, in some women these muscles and tissues weaken. Sometimes this happens during pregnancy and for a while after giving birth. More often it happens with aging, especially during and after menopause, when estrogen production in your body declines. For these women the urethra still works okay most of the time. But other times, a sneeze, cough, heavy lifting, exercise – anything that increases the pressure in her belly – can push down hard on her bladder for just a moment. In that moment, that fraction of a second, a weak urethra can’t stay closed and a leak occurs. That is Stress Incontinence.
Depending on how weak your urethra is and how full your bladder is, you might just leak a few drops each time this happens or you might leak quite a bit. It might change with the seasons – perhaps when you’re sneezing from spring allergies – or it might steadily increase over time. Some women aren’t bothered by leaks, but most find that even a few drops can really disrupt their daily routine and make them feel not at their best. That’s what really matters. If your leaks or dependence on pads bothers you (and if you’re reading this, it probably does!) then Finess may be a life-changing option for you.
Urge Incontinence is often referred to as “Overactive Bladder” or “OAB”. When you want to void (pee), your brain sends a signal to the muscles surrounding your bladder to contract and push the urine out. With OAB, your bladder muscles get this message even when you don’t want to pee and involuntarily contract the bladder. You feel a sudden urge to urinate, and have but a few seconds to find a toilet before an accident happens.
Sometimes, Urge Incontinence is caused by a urinary tract infection (UTI) or more severe diseases, which is why you should consult with a health professional if you are experiencing it.
OAB is often treated with drugs called anticholinergics that “calm down” the nerves around the bladder. Historically these drugs have been available by prescription only, but recently a version that utilizes a patch on the skin was approved by the FDA for over-the-counter sale.
Some women experience symptoms of both stress incontinence and urge incontinence. They are said to have mixed incontinence, or “mixed stress-urge”.