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Urinary Incontinence

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What is urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence (UI) is the passing of urine unintentionally. It is a common condition which can affect all adults but is most prevalent in older people and more women than men are thought to be affected. According to the NHS, one in five women over the age of 40 suffers from UI.

The health expert highlights the two types of urinary incontinence:

Medicine Net points out a third type – overflow incontinence, which is the constant release of urine, causing the sufferer to go to the toilet frequently and in small amounts.

What causes it?

Stress incontinence is caused by the weakening of the pelvic muscles. So, any extra pressure on them, such as laughing or sneezing, can make urine leak out. Certain factors can weaken these muscles in women:

UI is less common in men, but many still suffer from it, according to Medicine Net. Common causes for men and some women include:

What are the symptoms?

The main symptom of UI is passing urine without intending to. Those suffering from stress incontinence sometimes find this happens during physical activity such as laughing, sneezing, coughing and exercise. Urge incontinence may cause you to pass a larger amount of urine after suddenly feeling the need to go to the toilet while overflow incontinence may give the sufferer the sensation that their bladder is never fully empty.

How can it be treated?

Treatments for UI vary depending on severity and type on incontinence. However, certain lifestyle changes have been known to reduce symptoms regardless. These include:

If these prove to be ineffective, your doctor may recommend more intrusive treatment. There is a large number of surgical procedures available to minimise the effects of UI, as well as medication.

One celebrity who has suffered from urinary incontinence is actress Helena Bonham Carter.

Images: Wikimedia Commons

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