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Urinary Incontinence in Women

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According to the International Continence Society, urinary incontinence is a growing concern for women worldwide. The latest international statistics suggest that one in seven women suffer Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI), which is the type of incontinence that affects women in particular.

If coughing, laughing, sneezing, or other movements that put pressure on the bladder cause you to leak urine, you may have SUI. Physical changes resulting from pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause often cause SUI.

SUI occurs when the base of the bladder moves from its normal position, or when the bladder's closing mechanism is critically weakened. When either of these conditions occur, or they occur in combination, the urethra is unable to withstand sudden increases in abdominal pressure, or stress, upon the bladder, resulting in urine leakage.

There are various forms of treatment available. These include:

  • Pelvic floor muscle training, which strengthens the muscles of the pelvic floor that support the bladder and contribute to closing the urethra.
  • The use of absorbent pads and adult nappies.
  • Surgery, which is usually indicated for patients with severe SUI or in those who have had no success with other forms of treatment.
  • Pharmaceutical treatments which stimulate increased contraction of the urethral sphincter, in turn preventing urine leakage.

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