Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss (or leaking) of urine. Urinary incontinence effects women of all ages and all life stages. Leaking commonly presents as stress incontinence (loss of urine when bladder is under pressure, eg running or sneezing) or urge incontinence (leaking when rushing the bladder feels full) or a combination of the two.
Up to half of all women may experience urinary incontinence at some time in their lives. This can range form mild leaking, perhaps only when running or completing high impact exercise to uncontrollable wetting and the need to constantly wear a protective pad.
Stress incontinence occurs when an increase in intra-abdominal pressure exceeds the control of the muscle holding the urethra closed (urethral sphincter), resulting in urine from the bladder lesaking out.
Urge incontinence occurs when a sudden and intense urge to pass urine results in urine leakage. Women with urge incontinence can find themselves repeatedly visiting the bathroom in the day and planning trips out around locations of toilets.
A recent review study showed that Physiotherapy was more effective than medicinal drugs in treating stress or urge incontinence in women. It is never too late to seek help, and so much can be done to improve symptoms and reduce leakage.