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Female Incontinence

Incontinence in females occurs twice as often as incontinence in males. Urinary incontinence is the inability to hold your urine until you get to a toilet. Female incontinence can occur for many reasons. If you are having female incontinence, don't suffer in silence; talk to your doctor.

Incontinence in Females: An Overview

Urinary incontinence is the inability to hold your urine until you get to a toilet. More than 13 million people in the United States -- male and female, young and old -- experience incontinence. It is often temporary, and it always results from an underlying medical condition.
Female incontinence occurs twice as often as male incontinence. Pregnancy and childbirth, menopause, and the structure of the female urinary tract account for this difference. But both women and men can become incontinent from conditions, such as:
  • Neurologic (nervous system) injury
  • Birth defects
  • Strokes
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Other physical problems associated with aging.
Older women, more often than younger women, experience incontinence. But female incontinence is not inevitable with age. Incontinence is treatable and often curable at all ages. If you experience incontinence, you may feel embarrassed. It may help you to remember that loss of bladder control can be treated. You will need to overcome your embarrassment, and see a doctor, to learn if you need treatment for an underlying medical condition.

Understanding Bladder Control

The body stores urine in the bladder. During urination, muscles in the bladder contract or tighten. This forces urine out of the bladder and into a tube called the urethra that carries urine out of the body. At the same time, muscles surrounding the urethra relax and let the urine pass through. Spinal nerves control how these muscles move. Female incontinence occurs if the bladder muscles contract or the muscles surrounding the urethra relax without warning.
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