Urinary Incontinence in Women

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Urinary Incontinence: More Common Than You Think

Urinary incontinence is the involuntary and unintentional leaking of urine. Urinary incontinence can also be an embarrassing problem. As with many potentially embarrassing or uncomfortable symptoms, those affected may be hesitant to speak up or ask questions about their condition, even at the doctor's office. Urinary incontinence occurs more often in women than in men, and it is a lot more common than you might expect. In fact, chances are that you know other people who have been affected by urinary incontinence.

A 2010 summary of research studies presented at an international meeting of doctors who study incontinence illustrates just how common this condition can be. In particular, studies showed that some degree of urinary incontinence was reported by 25-45% of women...

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Urinary incontinence (UI) in women facts

*Urinary incontinence (UI) in men facts Medically Edited by: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

  • The definition of urinary incontinence in women is the unintentional loss of urine.
  • Urinary incontinence occurs more often in women than in men. Pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause may contribute to urinary incontinence in women.
  • Weak bladder muscles, overactive bladder muscles, and nerve damage may also cause urinary incontinence in women.
  • Urinary incontinence in women is common and treatable.
  • There are different types of urinary incontinence in women, including stress incontinence, urge incontinence, overactive bladder, functional incontinence, overflow incontinence, mixed incontinence, and transient incontinence.
  • Diagnosis of urinary incontinence in women may involve a physical exam, an ultrasound, urodynamic testing, and tests including cystoscopy, urinalysis, and a bladder stress test. The doctor will also take a medical history and may recommend keeping a bladder diary.
  • Treatment of urinary incontinence in women may include behavioral or nonpharmacologic treatments, like bladder training and Kegel exercises, medication, biofeedback, neuromodulation, surgery, catheterization, or a combination of these therapies.
  • Research is ongoing to discover new and better treatments for urinary incontinence in women.
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