With an ageing population and the adverse effects of today’s lifestyle, urology conditions, diseases and cancers are becoming more common in our society. One in two people will experience a urology condition in their lifetime. Urology Awareness Month helps raise awareness about the symptoms and aims to encourage people to speak to their doctor sooner.

Research commissioned by The Urology Foundation (TUF) found that 35% of respondents wouldn't seek help due to the taboo of finding what blood in their urine could signify. The Urology Foundation is spreading knowledge of urology health, breaking down the stigma associated with many of its conditions and persuading people to talk about these issues. Hundreds of thousands of people are diagnosed with urological conditions in the UK each year and a whopping 50% of people in the UK will develop a urological condition at some stage in their lifetime.

These include cancer and diseases of the prostate, kidney, bladder and testes, male infertility, erectile dysfunction and incontinence. Urinary incontinence is the unintentional passing of urine. It's a common problem thought to affect millions of people. There are several types of urinary incontinence, including:

• Stress incontinence – when urine drips out when your bladder is under pressure; for example, when you cough or sneeze. is commonly an effect of the weakening of or damage to the muscles which operate to help avoid urination incontinence, like the pelvic floor muscles and the urethral sphincter.

• Urge incontinence – when urine leaks as you feel a sudden, intense urge to pass urine, or soon afterwards. The condition is often the consequence of over activity of the bladder control muscles known as the detrusor muscles.

• Overflow incontinence (chronic urinary retention) – when you can’t completely empty your bladder, which results in post urination leaks. This is normally caused by an obstruction or blockage to your bladder, which prevents it emptying fully.

• Total incontinence – when your bladder is unable to store any urine at all, which causes persistent passing and leaking of urine. It's also possible to have a mixture of both stress and urge urinary incontinence. This can have its roots in a bladder issue from birth, a spinal injury, or a bladder fistula.

When to seek medical advice?

See your GP if you have any type of urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is not an unusual problem and you shouldn't feel ashamed discussing your symptoms with them and, it can also be the first step towards finding method’s to manage the condition. Urinary incontinence can usually be diagnosed after a consultation with your GP, who will look to find out more information about your symptoms and could opt carry out a pelvic examination (in women) or rectal examination (in men). Your GP might advise to keep a record or diary in which you keep a record of the amount of fluid you drink and how frequently you need to urinate.

Causes of urinary incontinence

Certain things can increase the chances of urinary incontinence developing, including:

• Pregnancy and vaginal birth

• Obesity

• A family history of incontinence

• Increasing age – although incontinence is not an inevitable part of ageing Read about the causes of urinary incontinence. Treating urinary incontinence Initially, your GP may advice some basic measures to monitor if they improve your symptoms.

These may include:

• Lifestyle changes – losing weight and cutting down on caffeine and alcohol

• Pelvic floor exercises – exercising your pelvic floor muscles by squeezing them, taught by a specialist

• Bladder training – where you learn new techniques to delay the need to urinate and passing urine, guided by a specialist.You may also benefit from the use of incontinence products, such as absorbent pads and handheld urinals. Medication may be prescribed if your symptoms are still unmanageable after exploring alternatives. Read about non-surgical treatments for urinary incontinence. In severe cases surgery may be considered as an option.

The surgical procedures suitable for you will reside on the variety of your incontinence. Surgical treatments for stress incontinence, such as tape or sling procedures, are utilised to minimise the burden of urine on the bladder or to focus on strengthening the muscles that regulate urination. Operations to treat urge incontinence include expanding the bladder or inserting a device that arouses the nerve that controls the detrusor muscles. Read about surgery and procedures for urinary incontinence.

Urinary incontinence prevention

It's not always possible to prevent urinary incontinence, but there are some steps you can take that may help reduce the chance of it developing. These include: controlling your weight avoiding or cutting down on alcohol keeping fit – in particular, ensuring that your pelvic floor muscles are strong Healthy weight Being obese can increase your risk of developing urinary incontinence. You may therefore be able to lower your risk by maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise and healthy eating. Use the healthy weight calculator to see if you are a healthy weight for your height.

Get more information and advice about losing weight.

Drinking habits

Depending on your particular bladder problem, your GP can advise you about a number of fluids you should drink. If you have urinary incontinence, cut down on alcohol and drinks containing caffeine, such as tea, coffee and cola. These can cause your kidneys to produce more urine and irritate your bladder. The recommended weekly limits for alcohol consumption are 14 units for men and women. A unit of alcohol is roughly half a pint of normal-strength lager or a single measure (25ml) of spirits.

Read more about drinking and alcohol.

If you have to urinate frequently during the night (nocturia), try drinking less in the hours before you go to bed. However, make sure you still drink enough fluids during the day. The Urology Foundation is committed to transforming the lives of people with a urology condition through ground-breaking research, training and education. NHS Nene CCG aim to eradicate the stigma surrounding urology conditions and are encouraging patients to discuss their urology health, be aware of the signs and symptoms of urology diseases and to seek medical advice when needed.

Every year around 10,000 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer in the UK. Knowing the symptoms so you can seek medical advice when experiencing the symptoms early can hugely increase your chances of surviving the disease. Symptoms may include;

• Blood in your urine

• Needing to urinate more often than normal

• The sudden urge to urinate

• Pain when you pee

There are an estimated six million people who are subjected to incontinence (the unintentional passing of urine) in the UK, but this figure could be more it is thought there are many undiagnosed cases due to an embarrassment to see their doctor about symptoms. If you are concerned or believe you could have a urological condition, then contact your GP Practice as soon as possible. There are treatments and support available and the earlier the diagnosis, the better you can be helped to manage your condition.

For more information on The Urology Foundation, or to access a range of information leaflets visit their website by clicking here http://www.theurologyfoundation.org