Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine. Losses of urine do not form part of the normal ageing process; anyone experiencing them should ask a professional for advice. In the majority of cases urinary incontinence can be resolved and does not necessarily have to affect the individual’s daily or social life.
Types of Urinary Incontinence
There are different types of Urinary Incontinence associated with different causes and so the correct diagnosis is vital for indicating an appropriate treatment.
Can have symptoms that belong to just one type or multiple types simultaneously. The most frequent types of Urinary Incontinence in women are:
Stress urinary incontinence. Occur during activities such as laughing, sneezing, exercising, lifting heavy objects or simply upon standing up.
The frequency and severity of the losses vary greatly between women. Some women experience only occasional leaks, while for others they are more frequent. The amount of urine lost also varies widely from individual to individual, from a few drops to a stream.
This type of incontinence arises when straining increases the pressure in the abdomen and bladder. As a result urine leaks involuntarily from the urethra (the channel through which urine is discharged), especially the muscle supporting the urethra is weakened.
Some people feel a sudden and overwhelming urge to urinate without being able to control it (urinary urgency). This symptom is usually accompanied by an increase in both daytime and nighttime (nocturia) urinary frequency. Individuals with urinary urgency are often unable to hold urine long enough to reach the bathroom.
Mixed incontinence is the combination of symptoms from two other types of incontinence, stress and urge.
Overactive bladder. The main symptom of overactive bladder is feeling the urgent need to urinate; this is aggravated by an urge to go to the bathroom (increased urinary frequency). It appears to have the same causes as Urge Incontinence.
How common is Urinary Incontinence?
It is estimated that 30–40% of women experience involuntary losses of urine, even if only occasionally. However, some women have a greater likelihood of suffering urinary incontinence than others.