Urinary Incontinence FAQs

Approximately 1 in 3 women aged 30-60 have some form of urinary incontinence.

WHAT IS URINARY INCONTINENCE?

If the valve-like muscles in the urethra, the short tube that carries urine out of your body, weaken, any activity that increases pressure on the belly can cause leaks. The severity ranges from occasional leaks when you cough or sneeze, to having an urge to urinate that is so sudden and strong that you don’t get to a restroom in time.

What Are the Different Kinds of Urinary Incontinence?

An involuntary emission of urine due to pressure on the bladder. Coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising or lifting something heavy can all trigger stress incontinence.

When the urge to urinate immediately triggers the emission of urine without the ability to wait. 

When the bladder does not signal it is getting full until it overflows. 

When a physical or mental impairment keeps someone from making it to the restroom in time. For example, if someone has severe arthritis, they may not be able to unbutton their pants quickly enough.

Some combination of two or more of the above types of incontinence.

What Causes Urinary Incontinence?

Incontinence can occur during pregnancy, after childbirth, with obesity, smoking and illnesses that cause frequent coughing, in hormone deficiencies such as those seen after menopause, and with repetitive high-impact activities.

Is Urinary Incontinence Common?

It is estimated that 18 million adults cope with stress incontinence in the United States, 85% of them women. Approximately 30% of women aged 30 to 60 have some form of urinary incontinence. Of those women, approximately 50-70% have stress urinary incontinence with or without urge incontinence. 

Which Exercises Help?

Some stress incontinence can be treated and resolved with pelvic floor therapy, the most common being Kegel exercises. While most recommendations are for 8-10 repetitions three times daily, Dr. Lisa Butler, D.O., tells us that is an inadequate number of repetitions to make a significant change in the pelvic floor muscles.

For example, if you were trying to build up your bicep by doing bicep curls with a dumbbell, you would choose a weight that left you tired after three sets of 8-10 repetitions. But if you were building a bicep without a weight, it would require many more repetitions for you to fatigue the muscle and trigger strengthening. The same is true for the pelvic floor. That’s why Dr. Butler recommends patients do 10 repetitions every time the phone rings or at every red light or stop sign so that they do a total of 10-20 sets per day.

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