What is incontinence?
The involuntary leakage of urine is called incontinence.
What causes incontinence?
Problems in the urinary system can be caused by aging, illness, or injury. The muscles in your ureters, bladder, and urethra tend to become weaker with age. You may have more urinary infections because bladder muscles have weakened and cannot empty the bladder completely. Also, weakening in the muscles of the sphincters and the pelvis can cause incontinence because the sphincter cannot remain tight enough to hold urine in the bladder or does not have enough support from the pelvic muscles.
What should I do first?
The first step in solving a urinary problem is to talk to your doctor or nurse. He or she will ask you about your general medical history, including any major illnesses or surgeries. You should discuss the medicines you take, both prescription and nonprescription, because they might be part of the problem. You should talk about how much fluid you drink a day and whether you use alcohol or caffeine. Give as many details as you can about the problem and when it started.
A physical exam will also be performed to rule out other causes of urinary problems, such as weakening pelvic muscles.
United States National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases,
of the National Institutes of Health: