|"At first, I only noticed that I leaked urine when I was lifting something very heavy or when I coughed or sneezed. Over time, it got worse. Now I wear maxi pads during the day and diapers at night. It's embarrassing and frustrating to be so hopelessly out of control." *
An estimated 51million women (17 million of them in the U.S. alone) cope with urinary incontinence. Some are unable to prevent leaking urine when they cough, sneeze or exercise. Others experience a strong urge to urinate but are unable to make it to the bathroom in time.
Urinary incontinence is the medical term used to describe the condition of not being able to control the flow of urine from your body. Incontinence usually occurs because the urethra cannot close tightly enough to hold urine in the bladder.
You may be surprised to learn how prevalent this rarely talked about condition actually is. Consider these statistics:
1. Palmer MH, Fitzgerald S, Berry SJ, Hart. Urinary incontinence in working women: an exploratory study. Women Health. 1999 v. 29(3)p. 67-82.
- Between the ages of 18 and 44, approximately 24% of women experience incontinence.¹
- For women over age 60, approximately 23% deal with incontinence, and the problem is more common in women than men.²
- Fully half of nursing home residents have urinary incontinence.³
2. Hampel C, Wienhold D, Benken N, Eggersmann C, Thuroff JW. Definition of overactive bladder and epidemiology of urinary incontinence. Urology 1997 v. 50 (suppl. 6A) p. 4-14.
3. Overview: Urinary Incontinence in Adults, Clinical Practice Guideline Update. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Rockville, MD. March 1996. http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/uiovervw.htm
Within this section, we will explore possible causes and treatment options to help restore urinary continence. If you are suffering in silence, understanding the prevalence, possible causes and treatment options may encourage you to seek help for your condition.
*These comments are based on the types of experiences relayed in monitored chat rooms where patients have shared their experiences. They are not reflective of individual patients, and may not be typical for all users.