urinary incontinence in women

Accidental release of urine is a very common and embarrassing problem, especially among older women. Most health care providers will encounter female patients with incontinence. Primarily because of the physical stress of pregnancy on the bladder, incontinence in women occurs 2-3 times more often than incontinence in men. In women over 40, one study suggested that over 60% experienced incontinence at least once a month. Consequently, it is important for health care providers to be aware of the risk factors to help women with incontinence find effective management strategies.

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urinary incontinence in men

The embarrassing and inconvenient problem of urinary incontinence in men, which affects 3.4 million Americans, is not a normal part of aging. Health care practitioners need to be prepared to talk with male patients about this treatable condition.

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Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence is the most common form of urinary incontinence and occurs when an individual has unintentional leakage of urine, usually after an activity that presses on the bladder. Because stress incontinence can occur after simply lifting something heavy, coughing, sneezing, exercising or even having sexual activity, this common medical condition can severely impact a patient's life and mental health.

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stress urinary incontinence

Stress urinary incontinence is a medical condition causing individuals to leak urine involuntarily when they do ordinary daily activities like coughing, standing up, lifting, sneezing, or exercising. Any motion that increases pressure on the bladder can cause involuntary urine loss, especially if the bladder is full. However, unlike urinary incontinence caused by an overactive bladder, stress urinary incontinence occurs without having an urge to urinate, or having an overly full feeling.

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urge incontinence

Urge incontinence, also known as overactive bladder, is the involuntary contraction of bladder wall muscles, causing a sudden and unstoppable need to urinate. Not a normal part of aging, urge incontinence is nonetheless more common in older people, particularly women. Urge incontinence is not a disease but a symptom of medical or lifestyle issues.

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overactive bladder

Overactive bladder (OAB), also known as overactive bladder syndrome, is a condition where there is a frequent urge to urinate to a degree that negatively affects a person’s life. Overactive bladder occurs because the muscles of the bladder start to contract involuntarily even when the volume of urine in your bladder is low. This involuntary contraction creates the urgent need to urinate.

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Incontinence can be divided into two main types - urinary and fecal incontinence. The first one refers to inability to control urine flow, while the second type is marked by inability to control bowel movements. Urinary incontinence is more common than inability to control bowel movements and is further subdivided into the following types:

urinary incontinence

Leaking urine involuntarily can be embarrassing for patients to talk about with health providers. Urinary incontinence is not a disease, it is a symptom with many causes. Fortunately, many treatments exist to help improve or even eliminate symptoms of this common medical condition which affects as many as 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men during their lifetime.

Cathy Milne's picture

by Cathy Milne APRN, MSN, BC-ANP/CS, CWOCN

Annual PAP smears as no longer considered the gold standard for women. While that may spell relief for the millions of us who dread those cold stirrups, it has far reaching consequences that may impact health care costs.

Dr. Joe Walsh, the Chief of general OB/GYN at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, Connecticut, recommends healthy women to have an OB/GYN exam every three years. "The question is: Is there anything we are doing beyond the Pap that will improve the woman's health? And that answer is 'no'".1 Gosh! OB/GYN health care providers are the first line of defense in detecting and preventing urinary incontinence!

Glenda Motta's picture

by Glenda Motta RN, MPH

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reports that nearly one in five Medicare patients discharged from a hospital—approximately 2.6 million seniors—is readmitted within 30 days, at a cost of over $26 billion every year.

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