Urinary Incontinence

Many different people experience loss of bladder control for a variety of reasons, but the issue becomes more prevalent with age and tends to affect women more than men. In fact, women suffer from urinary incontinence twice as frequently as their male counterparts. Typically, bladder control issues occur as the result of muscle weakness or overactivity. If the muscles that control bladder function are not strong enough, leakage can happen when a person sneezes, laughs, or lifts something heavy. This type of urinary incontinence is called “stress incontinence.” On the other hand, if the muscles are too active, the person may feel a strong urgency to use the restroom even when the bladder is not full. This type of incontinence is called “urge incontinence” or “overactive bladder.” Other causes of incontinence include nerve damage and prostate problems. Urinary incontinence affecting children often is called “enuresis” (“nocturnal enuresis” refers to bed-wetting). Typically, urinary incontinence is a symptom of an underlying medical condition that, while treatable, is not reported to practitioners. Treatment for urinary incontinence varies based on the type and severity of the issue, as well as the affected person’s lifestyle. Such treatments include muscle strengthening exercises (often prescribed by a physical therapist), medications, medical devices, or other medical procedures such as surgery.