The involuntary loss of urine is called urinary incontinence (UI) and many more women than men suffer from this problem. Symptoms can differ in that a woman might lose a few drops of urine while running or coughing and others can feel a strong, sudden urge to urinate just prior to losing a large amount of urine. Many women experience both symptoms.
Incontinence happens when problems occur with muscles and nerves that help to hold or release urine. Your body’s bladder stores urine, which is the water and wastes removed by the kidneys. The bladder is connected to the urethra, the tube by which urine leaves the body.
Pregnancy and childbirth, menopause, and the structure of the female urinary tract account for the fact that women are faced with UI much more than men. It is possible for women and men to become incontinent from neurological injury, birth defects, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and the physical problems that can come with aging.
Studies have shown that UI can be a little bothersome or so problematic it is totally debilitating. There can be a risk of public embarrassment and so UI keeps some women from enjoying activities with their family and friends. Urine loss might also occur during sexual activity and can be the cause of emotional distress.
It is common for older women to experience UI more than younger women, even though incontinence is not inevitable with age. UI is a medical problem and your NEIU physician or nurse is ready to help you find a solution. No single treatment works for everyone, but we work diligently to help as many women as possible to find improvement without surgery.