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Why Urinary Incontinence Is More Serious Than You Think

By Kent Sasse February 15, 2023 Health and Fitness

Urinary incontinence is a serious problem that affects tens of millions of people in the U.S. and hundreds of millions worldwide. It is defined as the involuntary loss of urine, which can range from a small leak to complete loss of bladder control. While incontinence is often associated with older adults or those with chronic health conditions, it can affect people of all ages and can have a significant impact on quality of life and health.

The Toll Incontinence Takes

One of the biggest problems with urinary incontinence is the embarrassment and shame that often accompanies it. People with incontinence often feel self-conscious and avoid social situations, leading to isolation and depression. They routinely curtail their physical activities and exercise due to fear of accidents, which can contribute to further health problems.

In addition to the emotional impact, urinary incontinence can also have significant physical consequences. People with incontinence are at increased risk for skin irritation, urinary tract infections, and bladder and kidney damage. The constant leakage of urine can also lead to skin breakdown and increase the risk of infections and pressure ulcers.

Then there’s the financial impact. People with incontinence may need to purchase special incontinence products, such as pads or briefs, which can add up and become quite expensive over time. They may also require additional medical care and treatments, such as physical therapy or medications, driving up the cost of this condition even more.

An under-appreciated health toll of urinary incontinence comes from the side effects of the medications doctors prescribe to treat the problem. The main class of drugs is widely believed to cause memory loss and accelerate dementia, hardly the sort of side effect we wish to see for ourselves or a loved one. AARP recommends those over 50 should not take those medications despite the fact they are among the most prescribed drugs in the world.

Understanding Incontinence

There are several different types of urinary incontinence, usually overlapping, each with its own causes and treatments. Stress incontinence, for example, occurs when physical activity or stress on the bladder causes it to leak. Urge incontinence, on the other hand, is caused by an overactive bladder that contracts without warning. Overflow incontinence is a condition in which the bladder does not empty completely, leading to leakage.

The causes of urinary incontinence can vary and the true cause for any one person’s condition is often multifactorial. In some cases, it may be a result of a chronic health condition, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or diabetes. In others, it may be caused by pregnancy, childbirth, or related to aging and menopause. Certain medications, such as diuretics or anticholinergics, can also contribute to incontinence.

Despite the widespread prevalence of urinary incontinence, many people are hesitant to seek help for the condition. They may feel embarrassed or ashamed, or they may believe that incontinence is a normal part of aging and can’t be treated.

Most unfortunately, many healthcare providers have little training or understanding of incontinence. However, there are highly effective, minimally invasive treatments available that can help people resolve or manage their incontinence and improve their quality of life.

Getting Support and the Right Treatment

Although lifestyle changes, such as dietary changes, pelvic floor exercises, and weight loss, can help improve urinary incontinence, neuromodulation is considered the best treatment. In more severe cases that also involve prolapse of the pelvic organs, surgery may be necessary to repair physical damage to the bladder or other structures that are contributing to incontinence.

It is important for those with urinary incontinence to seek help from a knowledgeable healthcare provider. This professional can perform a thorough evaluation to determine the underlying cause of the incontinence and recommend the most appropriate treatment. They can also provide support and guidance to help people manage their incontinence and improve their quality of life.

With the right support and treatment, people with urinary incontinence can manage their condition and regain independence and control of their lives.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What toll does incontinence take on your life? Have you found help and would you say you are happy with the support and treatment you received?

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Greg Holsclaw

I had my prostate removed due to cancer a year ago. I never had incontinence before the surgery but now i wear diapers 24/7 i pee uncontrollably now, the surgery doctor only asked if it’s getting better and offers no help other than a penis clip which herts and if i loosen it any it leaks. Is there any help out there. Date this was posted 3/6/23

James Harris

I had my prostate removed due to cancer also.Iv been suffering with incontinence since,2010 of September. To this date,I’m getting ready to try hyperbaric chamber sessions to combat the incontinence. It’s a pain in the backside incontinence, but I realize without me having my prostate out,I wouldn’t be here now.Never give up.


Can’t have people over, can’t visit others, can’t work outside my home, can’t go to public events, for walks, or to a restaurant, can’t travel using public transport such as planes or trains, must always have change of clothes with me if I do go anywhere, must always have washing machine nearby.

Beth Rice

I went to a female urologist and had a treatment called Bulkamid… tool care of my leaking and urgency problem. What a relief of no more pads. It supposed to work for 8 years.


Thank you for posting this, I have been having a lot of issues with my bladder and have been scared to research different options because I didn’t know what was really out there anymore, this looks like it could be something that is very beneficial for me.


Lack of essential hormones for women after menopause cause vaginal astrophy and pelvic/bladder functions. Bioidenticals are magic!–Incontinence.html


I have incontinence more when I am sleeping it wakes me up wet. Have not talk to a doctor about this issue. I just change and put a new pad on

The Author

Dr. Kent Sasse, an Alpha Omega Alpha top medical school graduate of UCSF, earned fellowship at the prestigious Lahey Clinic in Boston and published research on pelvic floor therapy and metabolic surgery. He founded and directs The Continence Center and the nationally accredited Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery program in Reno, Nevada. His most recent book is Outpatient Weight-Loss Surgery.

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