As we age, we’re still the same person we have always been, just slightly different physically. Our muscles weaken, we gain weight, start losing hair, and developing wrinkles, just to name a few changes. Another change that we may notice is with bathroom habits, especially in women. We like to think that recognizing and controlling urinary urges is something we have in the bag and have for a majority of our lifetimes, almost like second-nature. Our bladder signals to our brain that it’s full, we feel the urge to go, and we seek out a place to relieve ourselves. As we age and our bodies change, this process may become a little more complicated and may lead to urinary incontinence.
What is Mixed Incontinence?The term “urinary incontinence” is actually fairly broad as there are four identified forms of urinary incontinence. Urge Incontinence is also referred to as Overactive Bladder and occurs when a sudden, strong urge to go comes about and cannot be held back. Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) occurs when pressure or “stress” is placed on the bladder, abdomen, and/or urinary tract causing an involuntary leak. Overflow Incontinence happens because there is a blockage in the urinary tract or the bladder is too weak to empty correctly, causing residual urine to build up, while simultaneously not sending signals to the brain the bladder is full. Mixed Incontinence occurs when two or more urinary incontinence symptoms are present, most commonly SUI and Urge Incontinence. In most cases, one set of symptoms is more prevalent than the other. If you leak during the following activities, you may be experiencing SUI, and perhaps Mixed Incontinence as well:
CausesBecause Mixed Incontinence is a combination of both Stress and Urge incontinence, the causes of the symptoms are usually the same. In the case of SUI, a weak pelvic floor is to blame. The pelvic floor is the group of muscles, tissues, and nerves that support the urinary tract and urethra. As a result, the urethra leaks when put under pressure as the pelvic floor is too weak to close it. The pelvic floor can be weakened from:
- Pelvic surgery or radiation - cervix, uterus, prostate, etc.
- Repeated high-impact activities - running, gymnastics, horseback riding, etc.
- Chronic coughing
- Neurologic disorders or damage to the signals between your brain and bladder
- Post-menopausal women
- High BMI
- Pelvic muscle weakness or spasms
- Previous surgeries (POP surgery, urinary incontinence procedures)
- Developing a Urinary Tract Infection