Urinary incontinence actually occurs more frequently in women than in men, and is often associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and later on in life, menopause. It is technically defined as the unintentional loss of urine, as opposed to planned bathroom visits which are meant for that purpose. While the most common factors contributing to female incontinence are those described above, the condition can also be caused by weak or overactive bladder muscles, and in some cases, nerve damage.
While it is more common for older women to experience incontinence, the condition is not limited to older women, and can still occur in much younger females. Incontinence is also not a given fact of older age in women, and many females never experience any of its symptoms, even into their golden years. When it does occur, it is simply another medical problem, and one which can be diagnosed and then treated.
Diagnosis of incontinence
The various specific types of female urinary incontinence include all the following:
- stress incontinence
- urge incontinence
- overactive bladder
- functional incontinence
- overflow incontinence
- mixed incontinence
- transient incontinence
There are several techniques which can be used to diagnose female incontinence, including a physical exam, urodynamic testing, an ultrasound, and various tests such as cystoscopy and urinalysis. To further identify possibilities, physicians sometimes also recommend the keeping of a urinary habits diary.
Treatment of incontinence
Treatments achiever varying success for people suffering from incontinence, and what works for one female may be of no help whatsoever for another. In some cases, behavioral or non-pharmacological treatments are enough to produce a significant relief of symptoms, while in other cases bladder training and Kegel exercises produce better results. Biofeedback, neuromodulation, and catheterization also can achieve positive results for some sufferers, while in stubborn cases, surgery may be necessary. It is also possible that some combination of the above treatments is necessary in order to reduce or eliminate incontinence.