Urinary Incontinence in Women

Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine. It usually occurs when there is dysfunction of the bladder or pelvic floor muscles of the body. It can be characterized by something as simple as losing a few drops of urine while coughing or sneezing (stress incontinence), or getting a strong, sudden urge to urinate even right after peeing (urge incontinence). While it can happen to both men and women, studies show that women are twice as likely as men to suffer from this because of the inherent differences in their anatomy. Urinary incontinence in women often arises during pregnancy, childbirth, at the time of menopause, in other words, health events that are unique to women.

What causes women to have more chances of frequent urination?

Women have shorter urethra than men. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside of your body. The female urethra is much shorter than that of the male, which means there is less muscle that holds the urine in the bladder until the body is ready to urinate. Any weakness or damage to the female urethra can more likely cause urinary incontinence.

Stress incontinence: With stress incontinence, physical activities like exercising or coughing, sneezing, and laughing can cause urine leakage. Stress incontinence in women is often caused by physical changes to the body, such as:

Childbirth - Especially vaginal birth, labor and childbirth can weaken pelvic floor muscles and damage the nerves that control the bladder.

Pregnancy - As the unborn baby grows during pregnancy, he or she pushes down on the bladder, urethra, and pelvic floor muscles. This pressure may weaken the pelvic floor muscles over time and lead to urinary incontinence.

Menopause - After menopause, women have low levels of the hormone estrogen, which some researchers think may cause the weakening of female urethra.

Mixed incontinence: This is characterized by symptoms of both urge incontinence and stress incontinence. It is most commonly seen among older women .

What are the options for women to manage urinary incontinence?

There are certain recommendations that doctors give to women to help manage their urinary incontinence:

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