What is Mixed Incontinence?
Mixed incontinence refers to a condition where an individual experiences a combination of both stress incontinence and urge incontinence; in other words, it's defined as an involuntary urine loss due to either or both, physical exertion/abdominal pressure and urinary urgency.
Stress incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine that occurs during physical activities that “stress” or put pressure on the bladder, such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or certain types of exercising. Urge incontinence, on the other hand, is involuntary urine release due to a sudden and strong urge to urinate, one that happens before an individual has time to reach the bathroom.
It is more common in women to be experiencing both kinds, or mixed incontinence, and in fact it is estimated that 1 in 3 women who deal with some form of incontinence deal with mixed incontinence. It is also reportedly more common in older women.
What Causes Mixed Incontinence?
Mixed incontinence, much like its very nature, can have multiple underlying causes and is often the result of a combination of factors. Some common causes of mixed incontinence include:
Weak pelvic floor muscles
Muscle weakness in pelvic floor muscles can contribute to both stress and urge incontinence. You could be dealing with weak pelvic floor muscles if you are pregnant, over 60 years of age, deal with obesity, deal with hormonal changes, have chronic constipation, have chronic coughing, have certain genes, or just gave birth.
An overactive bladder
Sometimes, the muscles of the bladder can become overactive, causing an increased frequency and urgency to urinate (as in urge incontinence). An overactive bladder could happen if you contract a urinary tract infection (UTI), with certain neurological conditions, like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease or spinal cord injuries, if you had bladder stones or tumors, if you were on certain medications, bladder irritants, and finally, if you were dealing with stress or other psychological factors.
Fluctuations in hormonal levels, such as during menopause or pregnancy, can affect the bladder and urinary system.
Certain neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries, can affect the nervous system and disrupt the normal communication between the bladder and the brain, resulting in a combination of stress and urge incontinence symptoms.
Chronic conditions, like diabetes, can contribute to mixed incontinence by affecting bladder function and control.
How Do You Treat Mixed Incontinence?
Firstly, it's important to note that the specific causes of mixed incontinence can vary among individuals, and a thorough evaluation by a healthcare professional is necessary to determine the underlying factors contributing to the condition. Treatment options can then be tailored based on every individual's unique situation.
However, there are a few options available to you that are known to treat or at least help manage mixed incontinence! Including:
Pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegel exercises)
Regularly performing Kegel exercises can enhance muscle tone and control over the bladder! This physical exercise includes squeezing and lifting the pelvic floor muscles as if you're stopping the flow of urine midstream, holding for a few seconds, and then fully relaxing, repeating this exercise several times throughout the day to strengthen the pelvic floor.
Bladder training techniques, such as scheduled voiding and delayed urination, can help manage urge incontinence symptoms. This is when an individual gradually increases the intervals between bathroom visits to regain control over bladder urges.
Making certain lifestyle changes can alleviate mixed incontinence symptoms. This includes maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding bladder irritants like caffeine and alcohol, managing fluid intake, and quitting smoking.
In some cases, you could find medications that are prescribed to address urge incontinence symptoms. Anticholinergic medications, such as oxybutynin or tolterodine, can help relax the bladder muscles and reduce the urge to urinate. Of course, always check with your healthcare provider first if these medications suit your needs.
There are other options available to people who are dealing with stress incontinence in some instances, including vaginal devices, electrical stimulation therapy, and surgical interventions as well.
However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a urologist or urogynecologist, for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific condition and needs. They can assess your symptoms, provide recommendations for further treatment, and guide you through the most appropriate treatment options for managing mixed urinary incontinence.
WellBefore and You
While you are in the process of figuring out how to manage or totally treat your mixed incontinence symptoms, WellBefore has got your back in terms of leakage! WellBefore offers a wide variety of incontinence products, from pads to diapers, in a range of sizes, shapes, absorbency levels, and with the option of buying them in bulk! Check them out for incredibly fast shipping, and for a secure, dry journey to get on top of your incontinence.