What is urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the complaint of involuntary leakage of urine. Stress urinary incontinence, the most common type, refers to leakage of urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising. Urge incontinence refers to a strong desire to urinate and the inability to delay voiding long enough to get to a toilet. Mixed incontinence refers to a combination of both stress and urge incontinence.
- Incontinence is a large public health problem affecting over 3.3 million Canadians
- Urinary incontinence affects women of all ages
- Urinary incontinence is often associated with childbirth, menopause, obesity and surgery
- Incontinence can have a profound impact on quality of life causing embarrassment, decreased self-esteem and social isolation
- Under-reporting continues to be a major barrier as many individuals are either too embarrassed to seek treatment, believe that incontinence is untreatable or have failed with other traditional management approaches
What causes incontinence?
Incontinence can be caused by a multitude of factors, some of which are structural and some of which are modifiable. In each individual, there appears to be a threshold at which multiple factors combine to eventually strain the continence system to the point where symptoms of incontinence emerge. Recent research suggests that incontinence is a problem of the entire abdominal canister.