Thousands of people each year start to notice an unwanted change: the accidental leakage of urine. This condition is what we call urinary incontinence. However, this is a blanket term. There are several different types of urinary incontinence. This is important to know because the symptoms and remedies may vary slightly between them.
Common Types of Urinary Incontinence
- Stress incontinence is the common condition that causes urine leakage upon exertion; when you cough, sneeze, laugh, or exercise.
- Urge incontinence is characterized by sudden urges to urinate resulting in involuntary leakage.
- Overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder doesn’t fully empty upon urination, so leakage occurs as a constant dribble.
- Functional incontinence is a secondary problem in which urine leakage relates to a physical or mental impairment.
- Mixed incontinence is a combination of different types of urinary incontinence.
Most often, it is women who face the issue of urinary incontinence. If you are one of them and your daily life is impacted by this condition, it doesn’t have to be. Your urologist can identify what is causing urine leakage and develop strategies to correct the condition so you can avoid the emotional stress and limitations on your life.
Some of the common causes of urinary incontinence include:
- Aging and vaginal atrophy
- Weight and hormone changes related to pregnancy
- Weakness in the pelvic floor muscles
- Low estrogen after menopause
- Urinary tract obstruction
- Neurological disorders
What Do Women Do About Urinary Incontinence?
We’d like to say that women consult with their primary care doctor or urologist about urinary incontinence right away after symptoms develop. A recent study by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation tells us otherwise. Over 1,000 women between the ages of 50 and 80 responded to a survey, revealing that:
- 51% of women aged 65 and older had experienced urinary incontinence.
- 43% of women in their aged 50 to 65 had experienced urinary incontinence.
- Less than 40% of women experiencing symptoms had sought medical care.
- 41% of women experiencing symptoms describe them as a major concern.
- 38% of women affected performed Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor.
- 59% wore special undergarments or pads.
- 15% wore clothing that would hide accidental leaks.
While the strategies commonly employed by women can be helpful, they do not resolve the problem or keep urinary incontinence from worsening. To do that, it is necessary to see a specialist. A urologist can find the cause of urine leakage and develop a treatment plan around that cause. Common options include medications, Botox injections, and surgery, when necessary.