Reflex incontinence is urinary incontinence that’s mostly caused by spinal cord injuries. In cases where a person suffers from quadriplegia for example, spinal cord lesions affect the person’s ability to control his or her bladder. This results in the uncontrolled release of urine. The release of urine can be as little as dribbles and leaks to something like a complete voiding. What makes this condition very bad is that the person would have no sense for urinating. People suffering from this would have to be in diapers or have to wear devices like a penis clamp.
How Reflex Incontinence Occurs
The way the normal bladder works is that it has the ability to store urine up to a certain point. The muscles forming the bladder contract when it’s full or if 200 ml of urine has been collected and this sends impulses to the brain that a person needs to go to the toilet. In turn the sphincter muscles relax and the urine is released. With reflex incontinence, the bladder starts to contract by itself, full or not and the person will not be able to stop it. Urine leakage is the undesirable result.
What Triggers Reflex Incontinence
Just like with the other types of urinary incontinence, there are triggers for this particular condition. Again, the bladder contracts, the sphincter relaxes and the urethra opens up. For the most part, causes are unpredictable but they’re worse with:
- A full bladder
- Stimulation by cold air
- Even the sound of water running.
When any of the three happen, a person wouldn’t have the urge to urinate and of course, wouldn’t be able to make it to the toilet in time. The end would always be soiled clothes.
Dealing with Reflex Incontinence through Treatments
Before treatment will be given for your condition, the type of incontinence would have to be established. Although there are some methods that work with any kind of urinary incontinence, you might have something that needs special treatment. Essentially, the treatment list would be made up of the following:
- Lifestyle changes
- Kegel exercises
- Behavioral therapy
The trend for getting treatment would be to first utilize the simple and noninvasive ones before opting for more aggressive treatment methods like surgery. If you have a severe case of reflex incontinence, the treatment can also be a combination of these methods.
These exercises are also called pelvic floor exercises. If you need to tighten up the pelvic floor muscles and need to get more strength into them, you can do this with the pelvic floor exercises. You do have to identify the muscles first and then you have to contract them for strength. If you can do fast contractions and slow contractions, you’ll strengthen your muscles.
Coping with Reflex Incontinence
Out of all the urinary incontinence types, this would be one of the most severe. It’s severe in terms of there are very few cures for it where you’ll be totally free of incontinence. You would also need to learn about the methods for coping with reflex incontinence. You can go with things like incontinence underwear so that you wouldn’t have a problem with soiling your garments and also even if you don’t feel the urge, you’ll have a worry free time with your condition.
You can also wear devices like the penis clamp if you’re a male so that you have control over the times you empty your bladder. You do have to make it a point to go to the toilet every one to two hours so that you wouldn’t be filling your bladder up completely. This is a very big problem and it can take a large toll on your life. You might be forced to stay indoors and keep away from friends but it’s no way to live a life. You can always get treatment for your condition so that you can still keep on doing your regular routine without worrying about reflex incontinence.