What Is Urinary Incontinence and am I at risk?

Most women hear the word “incontinence” and think, “No, I don’t have that!”

But urinary incontinence includes any condition in which there is accidental or unwanted loss of urine – whether it is just a drop, two, or more; whether it happens only occasionally or regularly.

Urinary incontinence affects both men and women however, it is two times as common in women 1.  It is a condition that affects at least 20% percent of women in the United States alone. In fact, some estimates bring this number up to 45% if including women who are undiagnosed. Additionally, approximately 25% of new mothers have unexpected urinary leakage after a vaginal delivery and about 16% of women have leakage following cesarean section2

How do I know if I have urinary incontinence?

The main symptom of incontinence is the unplanned release of urine; whether it occurs in small drops or a larger volume.  This leakage can occur on a daily basis, or may be more infrequent.

Most women who “leak” do not identify themselves as incontinent, but should understand that unplanned bladder leakage is not normal and should be addressed early as these issues will not resolve on their own and can worsen.

If left untreated, urinary incontinence can affect the way a woman feels about herself and can cause depression or social isolation.  In addition, ongoing urinary incontinence can lead to skin irritation and increased risk for urinary tract infections.3

What are the Types of Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence can be grouped into 3 different categories:

What Causes Urinary Incontinence?

There are many different causes of urinary incontinence.  Some of those include:

  • Certain medications
  • Increased BMI
  • Over-consumption of caffeine
  • Pregnancy and childbirth

How is Urinary Incontinence Treated?

Urinary incontinence has been treated with a variety of methods.  These methods include (but are not limited to) behavioral training, medications, exercises, devices, and surgical interventions. Historically most treatments have not been very effective or have caused unwanted side effects, leading to frustration for you and your doctor.  The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has provided a document that describes treatment options in more detail.

InTone has taken this research and used it to create a revolutionary  product that combines the most effective non-invasive treatments (pelvic floor muscle exercises, electrical stimulation, and biofeedback) and improved upon them.

InTone has been designed with the patient at the forefront of care. Women today do not have time for frequent medical appointments, experimentation using pills, or ineffective surgeries with weeks of recovery. InTone allows you access to the same pelvic floor strengthening treatments available in gynecology and urology clinics in the privacy of your home, once the device has been programmed by your medical provider.

What is the pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that support your bladder and other pelvic organs.  The muscles can become weakened and cause involuntary urine leakage.

Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles Can Lead To LeakageReferences:

  1. Karriem-Norwood, V.  (September 15, 2011).  Urinary Incontinence in Women. eMedicineHealth.  [Retrieved] April 3, 2012 from: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/slideshow_urinary_incontinence_in_women/article_em.htm
  2. Rortveit, et al (March 6, 2003).  Urinary Incontinence after Vaginal Delivery or Cesarean Section. New England Journal of Medicine. [Retrieved] May 24, 2012 from: Nejm.org
  3. Non-Surgical Treatments for Urinary Incontinence: A Review of the Research for Women. 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.  http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/ehc/products/169/1030/ui_cons_fin_to_post.pdf . Accessed June 14, 2012.