Urinary Incontinence In Women, Causes And Symptoms

Urinary incontinence- the loss of bladder control is a common and often embarrassing problem, but it is important to note that urinary incontinence is not a disease but a symptom.

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Women experience incontinence twice as often as men. Pregnancy and childbirth, menopause, and the structure of the female urinary tract may contribute to incontinence in women.

The good news is you are not alone if you are coping with incontinence, urinary incontinence in women is quite common and treatable.

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Causes Of Incontinence In Women

Weak Bladder Muscles:

Nine times out of ten, your bladder leaks purely and simply because your pelvic floor muscles have weakened over time because of pregnancy, childbirth and the onset of menopause.

Overactive Bladder Muscles:

This type of incontinence is a bit different – it’s the urgent need to go, followed by an involuntary loss of urine — with anything from a few seconds to a minute’s warning.

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Nerve Damage: 

Damage to nerves that control the bladder from diseases such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease.  Nerve damage or trauma caused by surgery or certain therapies.

Types Of Urinary Incontinence

Stress Incontinence: Stress incontinence is the most common bladder control problem in young and middle-aged women. In younger women, the condition may be due to an inherent weakness of the pelvic floor muscles or an effect from the stress of childbirth.

Urge Incontinence: Is the inability to hold on for more than a few minutes once you have a sudden overwhelming need to urinate.

Overactive Bladder: Frequent, sudden urges to urinate may point to overactive bladder or urinary incontinence.

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Functional Incontinence: Mental or physical problems such as dementia or arthritis prevent you from getting to the bathroom in time.

Overflow Incontinence:  Is characterised by leaking with no warning or urge to urinate.

Mixed Incontinence: This means you have any two types of the condition. Many women have both stress and urge incontinence.

Transient Incontinence: A temporary type of urinary incontinence caused by an illness or a specific medical condition that is short-lived and is, therefore, quickly remedied by appropriate treatment of the condition and a disappearance of symptoms.

When to see a doctor

You may feel uncomfortable discussing incontinence with your doctor. But if incontinence is frequent or is affecting your quality of life, it’s important to seek medical advice because urinary incontinence may:

  • Indicate a more-serious underlying condition
  • Cause you to restrict your activities and limit your social interactions
  • Increase the risk of falls in older adults as they rush to the toilet

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