Information on Urinary Incontinence

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What is urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence (UI) means losing urine when you don’t want to – an involuntary loss or leakage of urine. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), urinary incontinence is a widespread global disease and one of the last medical taboos for many people. UI affects around one in three women worldwide.

How common is urinary incontinence?

As many as 3.3 million Canadians — nearly 10% of the population — experience some form of urinary incontinence. Unfortunately, very few people talk to their doctor about their symptoms. According to the Canadian Urinary Bladder Survey, 16% of men and 33% of women over the age of 40 have symptoms of urinary incontinence but only 26% have discussed it with their doctor.

What’s the difference between urinary incontinence and over-active bladder?

An overactive bladder (OAB ) means you feel an urgent desire to go to the bathroom very frequently, whereas incontinence is leaking urine involuntarily. Sometimes, the two conditions go together. About half of people with OAB also have urge urinary incontinence, but you can have OAB without incontinence.

Bladder Health Tips

You can help reduce bladder leakage by:

  • Avoiding fluids which irritate the bladder (e.g., caffeinated beverages)
  • Keeping your bowels regular
  • Losing weight
  • Keeping yourself fit and mobile
  • Avoiding repeated exposure to high impact physical activities
  • Stopping smoking
  • Asking your doctor whether any of your medications have a negative effect on the bladder – tell her/him about your urine leakage

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