Urinary Incontinence in Women Common, but Treatable

FRIDAY, February 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Nearly one in two women over the age of 50 suffers from the indignities of urinary incontinence, but experts say no one should suffer in silence.

Often seen as an inevitable problem of aging, most women never even try to seek treatment for the bladder leaks they experience, said Dr Christopher Hartman, chief of urology at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills at New York.


“Many women often cite embarrassment as the reason for being behind in seeking care,” he explained.

Before deciding to seek help, women should determine the type of incontinence they have. Stress urinary incontinence is most often caused by laughing, coughing, sneezing, or exercising. Conversely, urge incontinence occurs when a person experiences a strong desire to urinate and cannot stop that sensation, Hartman explained. This is usually the result of a problem with the bladder itself or of certain triggers such as caffeine and spicy foods, which cause the bladder to contract.

A third type, mixed incontinence, is the combination of stress and urge incontinence. Less common is overflow incontinence, in which a woman does not completely empty her bladder, Hartman said.

Beyond the type of incontinence that occurs, the severity of the disease can vary widely, said Dr. Elizabeth Kavaler, a urology specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

“Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine. This can cause a few drops to leak until a full accident, ”she said. “More than 25 million Americans admit to having problems controlling their bladder on a regular basis, which drives the industry to more than $ 33 billion a year in protective products, drugs and surgery.”

So what can trigger incontinence?

Stress incontinence is caused by a weakness in the pelvic floor, Kavaler said. In women, stress incontinence is associated with vaginal births, chronic constipation, obesity, and chronic lung disease. In men, stress incontinence can be seen after surgery for prostate cancer.

Risk factors for urge incontinence include being over 50, neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and stroke and urinary tract infections, she said.

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