Incontinence tends to be more common in older women; however, it can affect younger women too. It is not a fact of life that you’ll become incontinent as you get older.
What is female incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the accidental loss of urine. It is a symptom, or combination of symptoms, related to urine storage and bladder emptying. Many women suffer from it and are, sadly, doing so in silence.
Incontinence affects women almost twice as much as men. Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and the anatomy of a woman’s urinary tract are all factors that increase the likelihood of female incontinence.
The condition tends to be more common in older women; however, it can affect younger women too. It is not a fact of life that you’ll become incontinent as you get older.
What causes urinary incontinence in women?
There are various causes of incontinence in women, including:
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- UTIs and bladder infections
- Birth defects
- Certain medications
- Surgical procedures, including hysterectomies
- Progressive illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease
- Other chronic conditions
It’s important to understand that incontinence is not an inevitable part of ageing, nor is it necessary to accept long-term incontinence after carrying a child. In many cases it can be cured, and in all cases the condition can be managed.
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Types of female incontinence
Incontinence can come in a variety of forms, including:
Help for female incontinence
The level of incontinence a woman suffers can range from slight leakage – such as when you laugh, cough or sneeze – to frequent loss of large amounts of urine. The condition can be temporary, or it may be long-term. Regardless of the circumstance, you should never feel like you must ‘grin and bear’ discomfort.
Many women with incontinence have weakened or damaged pelvic floor muscles, and might not be able to sense when their bladders are full, leading to difficulty controlling urination.
Some wrongly believe they can reduce the likelihood of leakage by drinking less fluid. Urine is about 95% water and 5% waste. If it is more concentrated, due to lack of fluid intake, it can irritate the bladder and cause more serious problems, like infection or dehydration. In addition, inadequate fluid intake can cause constipation, which may make matters worse.
There are various treatments for female incontinence, ranging from incontinence products to surgery. If you think you might be experiencing bladder problems, don’t be afraid to speak to your doctor.
Incontinence products for women
For help managing leakage, Depend® offers a range of incontinence products for women, including pads and pants. All are designed to fit your body shape and are delivered in discreet packaging.