The loss of bladder control is called urinary incontinence (UI). The condition is common, affecting millions of men and women.
Why it happens
Incontinence occurs because of problems with muscles and nerves that help to hold or release urine. If your bladder muscles suddenly contract or the sphincter muscles are not strong enough to hold back urine, you will experience incontinence. UI is a medical condition with many possible causes, some relatively simple and self-limited and others more complex. See how your urinary system works.
- Women are twice as likely to have UI than men because of pregnancy, menopause, and the structure of the female urinary tract.
- Both women and men can become incontinent from neurologic injury, birth defects, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and physical problems associated with aging.
If you're having enough trouble with bladder control that it affects your day-to-day activities, don't hesitate to see your doctor. There are many treatments that can help or eliminate urinary incontinence.
- Guide to Urinary incontinence
- Bladder control problems in women: How to seek treatment
- Stress incontinence
- Urinary Incontinence in Women from the NIH