Urinary incontinence

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:50 pm
Urinary incontinence (in-KON-tin-ence) is the medical term for inappropriate loss of urine. This is a common problem among older adults. Approximately one in ten people aged 65 and older experience some form of incontinence - ranging from mild to severe - and women are affected more than men. The cause may be as simple as a urinary tract infection, lack of estrogen, or other condition which can be controlled or cured. It's also possible that the pelvic muscles have weakened, causing urination to occur when lifting, laughing, or coughing. This type is called stress incontinence. When a person is struck by a sudden urge to urinate, and loses some urine before reaching the bathroom, this is known as urge incontinence. Other types of incontinence may also be present. Your doctor may prescribe certain medications or recommend exercises that can help correct the problem. In some cases, surgery may be needed. Most cases of incontinence are curable or at least improvable. Even if the condition is incurable, there are ways to manage incontinence, such as making frequent trips to the bathroom or using disposable undergarments. For additional information about incontinence and its treatment, please contact a health care provider.

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