Urinary incontinence gives rise to uncontrollable and involuntary urine losses, which occur day or night. It is not a disease, but a symptom most often associated with a physical disorder.
Urinary incontinence is more common with age. However, it is not only the elderly who suffer. In North America, it is estimated to affect 1 in 4 women overall (and from 60 years, at least 1 in 3). Men are twice as likely to be affected, for reasons of anatomy.
Still too few people dare to talk to their doctor. In most cases, there are solutions to solve the problem or to control it successfully, even if the incontinence lasts for months or even a few years.
These are the main causes of urinary incontinence. They vary depending on the type of incontinence:
Weakening of the pelvic floor muscles (perineum).
These muscles are located at the bottom of the pelvis. They are used to keep the bladder in place and to control the discharge of stools and urine.
Pregnancies and vaginal deliveries may weaken them. Musculature can also relax with aging and loss of fitness.
It affects only women and occurs when the tissues between the bladder and the vagina are so weak or stretched that they can no longer support the weight of the bladder. It becomes more difficult to control (see diagram). Muscle building is often enough to put the bladder back in place, but sometimes surgery is necessary.
Prostate disorder or prostate surgery (see illustration in enlarged prostate).
A chronic health problem that reaches the control of the bladder muscles via the nerves. For this reason, even if one wants to refrain from urinating, it is difficult or impossible to get there. Neuropathy related to diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury may have this effect.
The taking of certain medications (for example, antidepressants, nasal decongestants, muscle relaxers).
A difficulty to walk, preventing to go to the toilet in time.
Constipation with impaction (compressed and hardened stools in the rectum).