Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leaking of urine. It could happen when one sneezes, laughs or during a workout. It happens when the muscles (pelvic floor muscle) in the bladder that control the flow of urine contract or relax involuntarily, resulting in leaks or uncontrolled urination. Urinary incontinence is a common problem that affects many people.
It can be due to stress factors, such as coughing, it can happen during and after pregnancy, and it is more common with conditions such as obesity. The chances of it happening increase with age.
Continence Fast Fact
- Urinary incontinence can affect both women and men but it is more common among women. An estimated 30% of females aged 30-60 are thought to suffer from it, compared to 1.5-5% of men.
- Leaking urine is not an inevitable part of aging.
- You can have temporary incontinence symptoms too from too much alcohol or caffeine.
- Myth: Small bladder (Wrong!) - Most people don’t actually have a bladder that’s physically smaller than normal. But for some, the organ can’t hold the usual amount of urine (about 2 cups) or its muscle loses the ability to stretch to hold that amount of fluid. That can lead to an overactive bladder and incontinence.
- Myth: Drink less to stop leaks (Wrong!) - Without enough fluids, your urine gets too strong and it can irritate your bladder. Make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day. Still, your doctor might suggest you avoid some drinks, like those with caffeine or alcohol. It might also be a good idea to limit how much you drink a few hours before bedtime to prevent problems when you sleep.
Incontinence is a treatable medical condition
No matter what type or degree of incontinence you might be experiencing, help is available.
It is not a condition that anyone should have to “just live with”.
Many people with incontinence put up with their symptoms for years.