If you’re young, you generally don’t think of incontinence in younger adults. Most of the time when talking about incontinence, we hear about incontinence in children or in the elderly. And yet, 20 to 30 percent of young women and about a third of that in young men suffer from some sort of incontinence. If you’ve been diagnosed with incontinence, it’s important to understand the differences in each type of incontinence.
Stress incontinence in younger adults is something that both men and women may face. It can occur when we sneeze, laugh, cough, pick something up, or otherwise put stress on our bladders. It can occur if we’re overweight, have recently given birth to a child, or participate in high impact sports. This is the most common cause of incontinence in younger women.
Overactive Bladder or Urge Incontinence
Often called “overactive bladder,” urge incontinence in younger adults happens when we have a sudden urge to go and can’t make it to the bathroom in time. We may get a few minutes of warning, or maybe a few seconds. Our bladders may suddenly squeeze for no apparent reason, causing us to lose urine. It can be caused by a urinary tract infection, Parkinson’s disease, or multiple sclerosis. Young women often have urge incontinence due to interstitial cystitis, which is inflammation of the bladder.
Overflow incontinence happens when we can’t fully empty our bladders and continue to dribble our urine. It often occurs if we have diabetes, nerve damage, or take certain medications. Prostate problems can also cause overflow incontinence.
Mixed incontinence occurs when we have more than one type of incontinence. Because there isn’t a clear cut distinction in incontinence all the time, we may see several forms of incontinence show up. Incontinence in younger adults usually comes in the form of mixed incontinence. The most common type of mixed incontinence is urge incontinence combined with stress incontinence.
What to Do if You Have Incontinence
Incontinence isn’t something we have to live with, even though it is common. It’s so common that our doctors have already seen people our age with incontinence troubles. We don’t need to be embarrassed by it. Instead, we need to talk with our doctors about our problem and have the underlying condition diagnosed so that we can have the problem treated. Our doctor will perform tests that will help diagnose the root of our problem and treat us. Some of the tests include a urine analysis and a blood test. Your doctor may recommend medication, exercises, or maybe even surgery, if it is needed. The need for surgery is rare, so discuss all options with your doctor before deciding on this option.