Female incontinence is a far more common occurrence than male incontinence, which is why it affects more actual numbers of individuals.
According to estimates projected by the National Association for Continence, female incontinence is four times more common than male incontinence.
The reason for this is that women’s bodies are structured differently and it is women who bear the physical stress of child bearing. The main causes for female incontinence are:
Childbirth can be a major reason for female incontinence: carrying a baby places a lot of pressure on the pelvic floor muscles.
Weakening of these muscles that support the bladder causes urine leakage that can be triggered by laughing, sneezing and coughing or even due to lifting heavy objects.
Menopause is a major cause for female incontinence. Since estrogen levels decrease after menopause, changes also occur in the elasticity of vagina and blood flow to the muscles of the pelvic region.
Other reasons such as vaginal or urinary tract infection or constipation can also cause female incontinence. Certain drugs and medications can also cause this condition. Weak or overactive bladder muscles could also be the cause.
A neurological injury could be the cause as can a stroke. Sometimes a birth defect could result in female incontinence. Even conditions such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease etc could cause this problem.
Female incontinence is of the following types:
Stress Incontinence is caused by stretching and consequent weakening of the pelvic floor muscles causing them to offer less support to the bladder.
The muscles responsible for closing the urethra are therefore unable to be tightened sufficiently, causing urine leakage. This is caused by pregnancies and weight gain. Smokers with a chronic cough may find that their incontinence becomes worse due to the onset of menopause.
Urge Incontinence happens when the muscles of the bladder contract involuntarily. The condition can result from a number of different factors such as kidney stones, certain kinds of tumors, Parkinson’s disease, stroke. Sometimes female incontinence occurs simply due to the changes that occur due to advancing age.
Overflow incontinence happens when urine is released involuntarily following it becoming overfull due to a blockage. However, this is a less common form of female incontinence; seen more often in men.
Functional Incontinence is when conditions such as arthritis or dementia cause one to lose bladder control before reaching the bathroom.
Anatomical Incontinence is the kind of incontinence that is caused by a birth defect; an actual anatomical or physical abnormality of the muscles of the urinary tract or their structure. This is an abnormality that is congenital and therefore may be present from birth, affecting urine flow in the person.
Total Incontinence is when there is no control over urine. The bladder contracts involuntarily and forces the release of urine. This may be due to multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and other nerve injuries or disorders.