Patient A: Oga, something strange dey do me o. I no fit control my urine again. Anytime I feel am en, e go just commot sharperly by itself, like say I be pikin. My friend say na spiritual sickness, abeg help me.

    Urinary incontinence (as seen in Patient A) is an involuntary loss of urine. It may manifest as almost-constant dribbling or as intermittent voiding with or without awareness of the need to empty the bladder.

    It can occur at any age but is more common among the elderly and among women, with about 30% of elderly women and 15% of elderly men reportedly affected.

    Sometimes, incontinence may not be considered present until the patient thinks it is a problem.

    Incontinence causes embarrassment and oftentimes affected person gets stigmatized, isolated or depressed.

    5 factors that can predisposes you to urinary incontinence:

    1. AGE

    Atrophic vaginitis is an infection common to women as they age. This condition contributes to thinning and irritation of the urethra/urgency leading to urge incontinence.

    Urge incontinence occurs after an urgent , irrepressible need to void causing uncontrolled urine leakage. It occurs more commonly at night, urine volume could be moderate or large.

    1. DRUGS

    Drugs like diuretic may precipitate urge incontinence. This is due to the fact that such drug increases frequency of urination when taken. This type of incontinence may affect young people though most commonly seen in the elderly. Taking your diuretic in the morning may help to reduce the chances of having nocturnal incontinence. A common example of a diuretic is furosemide popularly known as Laxis tablet. Other drugs in the class include Hydrochlorothiazide, Spironolactone, Amiloride and so on.

    1. STRESS

    Stressful activities such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, bending or lifting causes an abrupt increase in intra-abdominal pressure (thus putting pressure on the bladder) leading to urine leakage. The leakage volume is usually low to moderate. For this type of incontinence; it’s termed stress incontinence and is the 2nd most common type in women majorly due to complications of childbirth and atrophic urethritis.


    You must have observed some drops of urine in your underwear when you delay to empty your bladder. When the bladder is over full, there is a very high chance that dribbling will occur. However, volume of the dribbling urine is usually small. Constant leaking overtime may result in large total volume. For type; It’s termed overflow incontinence and it is the second most common in men.


    Cognitive/physical impairment as a result of conditions such as memory loss or stroke may interfere with ability of a person to control urination, though the urinary mechanism that support continence might be normal. Such patient loses ability to recognize the urge to urinate or in some cases unable to reach the bathroom easily leading to involuntary flow of urine. It’s termed functional incontinence.

    Perhaps you observe you are letting out too much urine involuntarily, you may want to visit the nearest hospital for proper examinations. Urinary incontinence is treatable, however treatment is dependent on the type of incontinence. Some of the treatment approach include: bladder training, exercises and drugs.



    Voiding disorder: The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy

    Nineteenth Edition. Pg 2352

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