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Urinary incontinence in layman's terms means poor bladder control. The control is weakened because the bladder involuntarily releases urine due to internal or external reasons. Urinary incontinence is a complicated disorder and needs medical diagnosis to pin-point the causal factors. Treatment is then prescribed.

Possible causes of urinary incontinence may range from physiological to psychological to external agents like drugs. These causes produce 4 different types of urinary incontinence: stress incontinence, urge incontinence, mixed incontinence and overflow incontinence.

Stress incontinence is the sudden leakage of urine after some physical action such as coughing, sneezing or strenuous physical activity. Stress incontinence is a common occurrence in women just after childbirth. This is due to weakened pelvic floor muscles. The body usually heals itself and normality returns in about 6 months time. There's no treatment within this waiting period. Women can do pelvic-floor exercises to strengthen those muscles to facilitate faster recovery.

Urge incontinence means you experience the urge to void (pass urine), but can't get to the bathroom quickly enough. This is caused by an unstable or overactive bladder. This needs medical consultation for treatment.

Mixed incontinence is a combination of urge and stress incontinence. Sad to say, this is more chronic.

Overflow incontinence is due to the increased volume of urine. It's often a physiological condition. Men are prone to this due to enlarged prostates in their middle age.

Overcoming urinary incontinence involves bladder training or surgery. Bladder training involves tracing the pattern of leaking and then regulating fluid intake. A urologist will set up a personal diary for the patient to record the leaking pattern and then he will determine the kind of treatment necessary.

Bladder control also involves regulating the amount and type of fluid consumed. Caffeine drinks cause irritation to the bladder and are best avoided. Tea is a diuretic as it draws more water from the kidney. Carbonated drinks, citrus fruit juices and alcohol also place stress on the bladder.

The smoker's involuntary cough also causes leakage. Quit smoking to solve your problem of stress incontinence.

Overcoming urinary incontinence is possible with bladder training and lifestyle changes like controlling your fluid intake and quitting smoking.