Urinary incontinence is the uncontrollable leakage of urine causing a social or hygienic problem and is objectively demonstrable. It is under diagnosed, under reported and affects an estimated 13 million adults in the United States, with approximately 85% of those affected being women.
30% of elderly individuals living at home and as many as 60% of assisted- care facility residents are incontinent. Disturbingly it has been estimated that a mere 5% of independent incontinent individuals and 2% of incontinence assisted- care facility residents receive appropriate medical evaluation and treatment. Additionally incontinent patients suffer an average of 8 years before seeking medical therapy.
Urinary incontinence has a tremendous negative impact on a person’s quality of life resulting in depression, increase incidence of fall and fractures, and both social and physical isolation. And although urinary incontinence increases with age, it is not a natural consequence of aging.
There are four main types of urinary incontinence in women:
- Stress Incontinence: Leakage of urine during physical activity such as laughing, coughing, sneezing and exercise.
- Urge Incontinence: The “gotta go, gotta go” leakage which occurs with a sudden uncontrollable urge to pass urine. (this is a subset of Overactive Bladder-OAB)
- Mixed Incontinence: A combination of both conditions above — stress and urge incontinence.
- Overflow Incontinence: Leakage occurs when the bladder cannot adequately empty itself and urine simply leaks out when the bladder is overfilled.