Stress Incontinence Complications

Medical risks associated with urinary incontinence are rarely serious, but can be irritating, painful and emotionally draining. Patients with urinary incontinence are usually affected as much mentally as physically. Here are some of the more common complications of urine incontinence.

High Risk of Developing Bladder Infection

Bladder infections can both cause and be aggravated by incontinence. Incontinence sufferers often cannot completely empty their bladders. The same weak pelvic muscles that contribute to incontinence also hinder the bladder’s ability to empty its contents completely. As a result, small amounts of urine often remain in the bladder, increasing the likelihood of developing a bladder infection.

A bladder infection is usually treated with antibiotic medications. As your doctor will advise, it’s important to finish the entire prescription of antibiotics, or there’s a good chance bladder infections will return.

Vaginal Irritation

Urine leakage can irritate the vagina. This may manifest itself as irritation, infections, or vaginal discharge. Many women suffering from stress incontinence report that sexual intercourse is uncomfortable. This may be due to irritation caused by the constant leaking of urine. Unpleasant odors are also common, making the incontinence sufferer even more self-conscious of her problem.

Uinary Incontinence and Quality of Life

Male or female stress incontinence can wreak havoc in all areas of life. Careers, relationships and overall self-esteem can suffer from the effects of unpredictable bladders. Many patients are reluctant to reveal that they have problems controlling their bladders: they feel ashamed of themselves, as if they’ve somehow failed to live up to society’s expectations. Often they even find it hard to talk to their doctors about urinary problems.

Of course, patients suffering from stress incontinence are no more responsible for their bladders than arthritis sufferers are for the pain they endure. Stress incontinence is a medical problem and should be treated as such.

Resources

Digital Urology Journal. (nd). Urinary incontinence in women. Retrieved February 12, 2002, from www.duj.com/UrinaryIncontinence.html.

Leach, G. (nd). Urinary incontinence in men: A treatable problem. Retrieved February 18, 2002, from www.hisandherhealth.com/articles/Urinary_ Incontinence_in_Men_A_Treatable_Problem.shtml.

National Library of Medicine. (updated 2000). Stress incontinence. Retrieved February 13, 2002, from www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000891.htm.

National Library of Medicine. (nd). Urinary tract infection — Chronic or recurrent. Retrieved February 13, 2002, from www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000505.htm.

Seek Wellness.com. (nd). Glossary of incontinence terms.

Retrieved February 12, 2002, from www.seekwellness.com/incontinence/glossary_of_incontinence_terms.htm#S.

Urology Channel. (nd). Incontinence. Retrieved February 12, 2002, from www.urologychannel.com/incontinence/stress/index.shtml.