Adult Incontinence: How Common Is it?
New surveys show that urinary incontinence -- a problem with bladder control -- is quite common.
Lifestyle Changes, Medication, Exercises Can Help Treat Urinary Incontinence
May 23, 2005 -- If you've recently had a problem with bladder control,
you're far from alone.
New surveys show that urinary incontinence -- a problem with bladder control
-- is quite common. Both surveys were reported at this week's annual meeting of
the American Urological Association in San Antonio.
UCLA researcher Jennifer Tash Anger, MD, and colleagues with the Urologic
Diseases in America Project analyzed data from the huge National Health and
Nutrition Examination Survey.
Of the 23.5 million women surveyed, 38% said they'd suffered at least one
episode of urinary incontinence in the last year. Among these women:
- 13.7% of women with bladder control problems said they suffered
incontinence every day.
- 10% of women with bladder control problems said they suffered incontinence
- Bladder control problems were more common in non-Hispanic whites (41%) than
in non-Hispanic blacks (20%) or Mexican-Americans (36%).
- As women get older, daily incontinence is more common. Among women aged
60-64, 12% report daily incontinence. This increases to 21% of women aged 85
Ananias C. Diokno, MD, chairman of urology at Beaumont Hospital in Royal
Oak, Mich., reported on data from a national sample of 21,590 men.
They found that 9% of men reported a bladder control problem in the last 30
days. Among these men:
- 29% of men with a bladder control problem reported stress urinary
incontinence. That means they had trouble controlling their bladder when
coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising.
- 41% of men with a bladder control problem reported urge urinary
incontinence. That means a strong, sudden urge to urinate followed by an
involuntary bladder contraction and loss of urine.
- 16% of men with a bladder control problem had mixed stress and urge
- 27% of men with a prostate condition had urinary incontinence.
There are lifestyle changes, exercises, and medications that can help
improve bladder control:
- Avoid drinking excess amounts of diuretics.
- A popular set of exercises called Kegel exercises strengthens the muscles
that are squeezed when trying to stop urinating midstream.
- For those who smoke, stop smoking. Nicotine irritates the bladder.
- Wearing protective devices such as absorbent products, underwear, and adult
diapers or using bed pads can also help manage urinary incontinence.