Female incontinence is a problem that affects millions of Americans. Studies suggest that as much as 35 percent of women over 60 deal with incontinence. In addition, female incontinence is twice as more likely than male incontinence.
As the numbers illustrate, it’s important to remember urinary incontinence in women is a common problem. Incontinence in women is treatable at all ages, and no one should ever feel ashamed or embarrassed about the issue.
Unfortunately, female incontinence problems are often unreported to medical professionals. This page has been created to help educate and to raise awareness about urinary incontinence in women.
Types of Female Incontinence
According to the National Kidney and Urological Diseases Information Clearinghouse (otherwise known as the NKUDIC), there are several different types of female incontinence. The types and corresponding symptoms include:
- Stress – Small amounts of urine are released due to physical movement, such as exercising, sneezing or coughing.
- Urge – Unexpected leaking of large amounts of urine during unexpected times, such as sleep or relaxation.
- Mixed – A combination of stress and urge incontinence.
- Functional – A person realizes they need to urinate, but they are unable to get to the restroom in time due to obstacles, physical disability or mental issues.
- Transient – Incontinence that occurs on a temporary basis because of certain situations, such as new medication, illness or constipation.
- Overflow – Leakage of small amounts of urine at unexpected times due to a full bladder.
- Overactive Bladder – The frequent and urgent need to urinate.
Causes of Female Incontinence
Women deal with incontinence twice as often as their male counterparts because of the differences in anatomy. Menopause and the way the urinary tract is structured directly leads to more occurrences of urinary incontinence in women. Pregnancy and childbirth is also responsible for a spike in female incontinence.
Men and women alike can suffer from incontinence due to birth defects, stroke, neurologic injury and multiple sclerosis. Health issues such as diabetes and obesity have coincided with both male and female incontinence problems.
Treating Female Incontinence
Female incontinence can be treated and ultimately (potentially) eliminated through several avenues, including:
- Bladder Retraining
- Exercises (Kegels)
- Vaginal Devices
By visiting a doctor or specialist, you will be able to learn the cause of your incontinence and what the best method or course of treatment will be. It’s best to consult a physician before attempting any form of female incontinence treatment.