Urinary incontinence, or the involuntary leakage of urine, is a common condition affecting millions of women. Nearly 50% of women will experience some form of incontinence during their lifetime. The prevalence increases with age, with 1 in 3 women dealing with it by age 60. It can negatively impact quality of life and lead to social isolation. The good news is that various effective treatment options are available.
There are three main types of urinary incontinence:
This occurs when physical pressures on the bladder lead to leakage. Coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercise can cause urine to leak. Weakened pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder and urethra lead to stress incontinence.
Also called overactive bladder, this involves a sudden, intense urge to urinate followed by bladder contractions and urine leakage. It often occurs due to abnormal bladder contractions.
Many women experience a combination of stress and urge incontinence called mixed incontinence. Treatments can target both components.
Several factors can contribute to developing incontinence:
Pelvic floor weakness is the main culprit in stress incontinence.
Simple lifestyle tweaks can help manage or improve mild incontinence:
Drugs that calm bladder contractions can treat urge incontinence. Topical vaginal estrogen and some oral medications may also help some women.
Visiting a pelvic floor physical therapist can provide specialized care:
When other measures fail, surgery can provide a more permanent solution:
Don’t suffer in silence. Seek evaluation from a doctor like a urologist or gynecologist. Various effective options can help manage or even cure incontinence and restore your confidence and quality of life.