Urinary Incontinence, the involuntary leakage of urine, affects more than 18 million adults. Eighty-five percent of those affected by incontinence are female. Incontinence occurs when the muscle that holds the bladder neck is not strong enough to hold urine in the bladder. It also occurs when the bladder muscles contract too strongly or when the bladder isn’t emptied regularly.
There are several types of incontinence:
Stress incontinence occurs when pressure applied to the bladder causes an accidental release of urine. This pressure is most often triggered by coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting heavy objects.
When you have urge incontinence, your bladder contracts at the wrong time, giving you the feeling that you have to urinate immediately—even if your bladder is empty.
Leaking can happen when your bladder doesn’t empty properly. Conditions such as an enlarged prostate can cause overflow incontinence.
Complete deficiency of the sphincter—the bladder neck muscle—results in continual leakage.
Three types of incontinence are specific to women:
Hypermobility results from childbirth, pelvic surgery, or hormonal changes.
Also called ISD, this condition refers to the weakening of the urethral sphincter muscles or closing mechanism.
When the uterus, bladder, or rectum slip into the vaginal space this causes pelvic pressure and incontinence. Over 3 million women in the U.S. have this condition.
Treating Urinary Incontinence
There is a link between incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Consult your doctor if you believe your incontinence could be related to erectile dysfunction.
There are several methods for treating incontinence including behavioral modification, physical therapy, medication, and minimally invasive surgery. These treatment options can help you return to a more natural and comfortable lifestyle.