Urinary incontinence, or the involuntary release of urine, affects many women, especially in middle age. Incontinence usually doesn’t signify any major health issue, but the condition can lead to humiliation, anxiety, and interference in daily activities. If you are experiencing urinary incontinence, you might be wondering why. First it’s important to realize that there are several different types of urinary incontinence. The two types that typically afflict older women are stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
Stress incontinence is the leakage of small amounts of urine and occurs during physical movements, like coughing, sneezing, or exercising. This happens when certain activity is putting pressure on the bladder. It is typically caused by some kind of lifestyle change that has stretched the pelvic floor muscles, including childbirth, weight gain, and pelvic surgery.
Urge incontinence is the leakage of urine at unexpected times during the day or even when sleeping at night. This kind of leakage can occur with seemingly no provocation or trigger, but it is usually associated with a sudden urge to urinate. Some women have no warning at all before they experience the leakage from urge incontinence. The cause of this type of incontinence is not always known, though in some cases the blame can be pointed to brain conditions, emotional stress, or irritation of the bladder.
Both types of incontinence are generally caused by any damages or weaknesses in the urinary tract muscles or nerves that control urination.
Other Possible Causes
Some women experience urinary incontinence for reasons aside from the ones mentioned above. If you’re experiencing incontinence for the first time, see a doctor, as it may be a result of a urinary tract infection or a change in medication.