How does the Urinary System work?

Urinary System - kidneys, ureters, bladder (store and pass urine)

The urinary system removes a type of waste called urea from your blood. Urea is produced when foods containing protein, such as meat, poultry, and certain vegetables, are broken down in the body. Urea is carried in the bloodstream to the kidneys.

The kidneys remove urea from the blood through tiny filtering units. Urea, together with water and other waste substances, forms the urine. From the kidneys, urine travels down the ureters to the bladder. Circular muscles around the opening of the bladder into the urethra help keep urine from leaking. Nerves in the bladder tell you when it is time to urinate, or empty your bladder. When you urinate, the brain signals the bladder muscles to tighten, squeezing urine out of the bladder. At the same time, the brain signals the circular muscles to relax. As these muscles relax, urine cannot exit the bladder through the urethra. When all the signals are done in the correct order, normal urination occurs.

What happens in the Case of Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is loss of bladder control. Symptoms can range from mild leaking to uncontrollable wetting. It can happen to anyone, but is common in older people. As for women, physical changes resulting from pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause often cause this condition. As for men, the number one cause of urinary incontinence is prostate problem. There are several types of urinary incontinence. But the most common are stress incontinence which happens when coughing, laughing, sneezing, or other movements that put pressure on the bladder which cause you to leak urine; and the other is overactive bladder or the urge incontinence, where you experience sudden feeling or need to urinate every now and then. This is often caused by damage in the nerves in the bladder, nervous system, or in the bladder muscles themselves.

The Types of Urinary Incontinence

Stress - Leakage of small amounts of urine during physical movement (coughing, sneezing, exercising).

Urge - Leakage of large amounts of urine at unexpected times, including during sleep.

Overactive Bladder - Urinary frequency and urgency, with or without urge incontinence.

Functional - Untimely urination because of physical disability, external obstacles, or problems in thinking or communicating that prevent a person from reaching a toilet.

Overflow - Unexpected leakage of small amounts of urine because of a full bladder.

Mixed - Usually the occurrence of stress and urge incontinence together.

Transient - Leakage that occurs temporarily because of a situation that will pass (infection, taking a new medication, colds with coughing).

Points to Remember * Urinary incontinence is common in women. * All types of urinary incontinence are treatable. * Incontinence is treatable at all ages. * You need not be embarrassed by incontinence

Most urinary incontinence fades away naturally. Here are examples of what can happen

over time: * Bladder capacity increases. * Natural body alarms become activated. * An overactive bladder settles down. * Production of ADH becomes normal. * The child learns to respond to the body's signal that it is time to void. * Stressful events or periods pass.

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