Urinary Incontinence

Loss of bladder control is also called urinary incontinence.

You may think bladder control problems are something that happen when you get older. The truth is that women of all ages have urine leakage. The problem is also called incontinence. Men leak urine too, but the problem is more common in women.

  • Many women leak urine when they exercise, laugh hard, cough, or sneeze.
  • Often women leak urine when they are pregnant or after they have given birth.
  • Women who have stopped having their periods—menopause—often report bladder control problems.
  • Female athletes of all ages sometimes have urine leakage during strenuous sports activities.

Urine leakage may be a small bother or a large problem. About half of adult women say they have had urine leakage at one time or another. Many women say it's a daily problem.

Urine leakage is more common in older women, but that doesn't mean it's a natural part of aging. You don't have to "just live with it." You can do something about it and regain your bladder control.

Incontinence is not a disease. But it may be a sign that something is wrong. It's a medical problem, and a doctor or nurse can help.

  • Stress - You can loose urine when you exercise, laugh, cough, sneeze or lift heavy objects.
  • Overactive Bladder/Urge - This happens when you can't hold urine for very long. You don't reach the toilet in time.
  • Overflow - Your bladder is always full. Small amounts of urine leak from it.
  • Mixed - Some people have more than one type of bladder control problem.

What are other problems caused by loss of bladder control?

Bladder problems can go on for a long time before a person asks for help. It can lead to other problems, like:

  • Rashes, skin infections, and sores
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Sleeping problems
  • Less social and activity
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Depression

The treatment depends on what kind of bladder problem you have. It also depends on the cause.

Here are some treatments you could get:

  • Exercises that make the pelvic floor stronger (Kegel exercises)
  • Perscription Drugs
  • Surgery
  • Devices such as a pessary

A pessary is a plastic ring, similar to a contraceptive diaphragm, that is worn in the vagina. It will help support the walls of the vagina, lifting the bladder and nearby urethra, leading to less stress leakage. A doctor can fit you with the best shape and size pessary for you and teach you how to care for it. Many women use a pessary all day to reduce stress leakage. The doctor can regularly check the device and the vaginal walls to make sure the pessary is fitting you comfortably and performing its job correctly.