ZocdocAnswersWhy do older women develop incontinence so frequently?

Question

Why do older women develop incontinence so frequently?

A lot of the older women in my family have incontinence. My mom, grandmother, grandmother's sister. What does this mean for me, a 30 year old woman?

Answer

Urinary incontinence is a common problem in women. Fortunately, their are many treatments and even preventative measures that one can take to battle this problem. If you have any concerns regarding this I would recommend that you talk to your primary care doctor. If necessary, he or she may refer you to a uro-gynecologist for more information. Urinary incontinence is common is women for a number of reasons. Primary among them is what we call "obstetric trauma." This refers to the stretching, tearing and trauma that occurs to the pelvic floor of women that have vaginal deliveries of their children. This causes weakening of the pelvic floor muscles that are important in keeping the bladder and other pelvic organs in place. As such, women who have vaginal deliveries often experience some for of incontinence. This form of incontinence is known as stress incontinence -- as any stress on the bladder (coughing, sneezing, laughing, jumping) can cause the weak pelvic floor to leak urine. Fortunately, there are ways to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles -- notable Kegel exercises. Talk to your doctor about this. Beyond the above, there are other causes/types of incontinence. Urge incontinence can occur from bladder spasms. Infections of the bladder can cause incontinence. Please talk to your doctor for more information.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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