What is urinary incontinence?
Urinary (YOOR-in-air-ee) incontinence (in-KAHN-tih-nens) is when urine leaks out before you can get to a bathroom. If you have urinary incontinence, you’re not alone. Millions of women have this problem.
What causes urinary incontinence?
There are many reasons why a woman may leak urine. Sometimes it’s caused by an illness, in which case bladder control returns when the illness goes away. For example, bladder infections and infections in the vagina can cause incontinence for a short time. Being unable to have a bowel movement or taking certain medicines also may make it hard to control your bladder.
Sometimes incontinence is an ongoing problem, in which case the cause might be:
- the bladder cannot empty completely
- weakening of the muscles that help to hold or release urine
- a blocked urinary passage
- damage to the nerves that control the bladder
Sometimes, diseases such as arthritis make it hard to get to the bathroom in time and can make it even harder to control urine leakage.