Healthy habits, exercise and weight control can prevent urinary incontinence – a symptom characterized by the involuntary loss of urine, a problem that affects around 20 million Brazilians, according to the Brazilian Society of Urology (SBU ).
According to the doctor of urology of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo (USP) and director of the SBU, Carlos Sacomani, incontinence, whether moderate or severe, can affect the sexual, professional and personal life of the patient. “In terms of impaired quality of life, this can be quite significant if the intensity is moderate to severe,” he points out.
According to the doctor, when it occurs in women, the main causes are related to the effort, in patients who have suffered a weakening of the muscles of the pelvic floor. “When they cough, sneeze, or exercise, a little physical activity, urine leaks,” he explains. According to him, the muscles of the pelvic floor can be overloaded in the case of women having many deliveries, twin pregnancies or very heavy children.
Patients may also have incontinence due to an overactive bladder, the doctor explains, a condition that can be exacerbated by drinking coffee and black tea. “These are women who have bladder alterations, they want to urinate and if they don’t go to the toilet quickly, they lose urine”.
In men, the condition of overactive bladder also occurs, but it is more common in elderly patients. Urinary incontinence still occurs in men as a secondary symptom of prostate surgery. “There are patients who have undergone prostate surgery, mainly for cancer, and who develop urine leakage after the surgery. The cause is the surgery itself,” Sacomani points out.
Incontinence treatment can begin with lifestyle changes and pelvic floor physical therapy. In case of overactive bladder, it is possible to use medication and even to implant a bladder pacemaker. In patients with exertional urine loss, surgical treatment may also be performed.
Prevention goes through healthy habits, according to the doctor. “It is these habitual habits, including engaging in adequate physical activity and preventing obesity, that are directly linked to urinary incontinence – the greater the weight, the higher the risk of urinary incontinence” .