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Urinary Incontinence and Women

 

Urinary incontinence is the accidental release of urine. Bladder control problems are very common, especially among older adults. While they usually do not cause major health problems, they can be embarrassing. There are two main kinds of chronic incontinence. Some women have both:

Stress incontinence occurs when you sneeze, cough, laugh, jog, or do other things that put pressure on your bladder . It is the most common type of bladder control problem in women.

Urge incontinence, also called overactive bladder, happens when you have a strong need to urinate but can't reach the toilet in time. This can happen even when your bladder is holding only a small amount of urine. Some women may have no warning before they accidentally leak urine. Other women may leak urine when they drink water or when they hear or touch running water.

Urinary incontinence can be caused by weak muscles in the lower urinary tract and/or problems or damage of either the urinary tract or the nerves that control  urination. Other surgical procedures such as hysterectomy may also boost incontinence risk.

Treating urinary incontinence: Most bladder control problems can be improved or cured:

  • Doing Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, is one of the best ways to improve stress incontinence.

  • Using a removable device called a pessary (which is placed inside the vagina). It can help reduce stress incontinence by putting pressure on the urethra.

  • Taking medication (there may be bothersome side effects).

  • Having surgery to support the bladder or move it back to a normal position, if other treatment doesn't help.