Stress Incontinence Risk Factors

Although incontinence has traditionally been seen as an inevitable part of the aging process, there are strategies to help prevent and treat the disorder. Some groups are more at risk than others.

Menopause

By far the highest risk group for stress incontinence is women experiencing menopause. Changes associated with menopause can affect the muscles of the pelvic wall. Levels of estrogen plummet in post-menopausal women. Lack of estrogen appears to cause a general weakening of the muscles associated with the function of the bladder and urethra. Studies suggest that more than 35 percent of menopausal women develop stress incontinence. Treatment by an urologist is often required after menopause, especially as incontinence may contribute to other bladder disorders.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy often causes temporary bladder problems. In many women, pregnancy and childbirth can result in weakened pelvic muscles and problems with incontinence can result. In these circumstances, according to female urology studies, stress incontinence is usually temporary, and goes away as the muscles and urinary system regain tone following pregnancy. In addition to childbirth, many types of pelvic surgery can also weaken pelvic muscles.

Pregnancy Exercises: Do the Kegel

If you ‘re pregnant, there ‘s a simple exercise that both helps prepare for childbirth and helps prevent postpartum bladder problems. It ‘s called the Kegel exercise.

Prostate Surgery

Stress incontinence in men is most often the result of damage to muscles associated with the urethral sphincter following prostate surgery. In some cases, enlarged prostates or bladder stones can also cause stress incontinence, although these factors more frequently cause a condition called urge incontinence.

Enuresis: Bedwetting and Children

Enuresis is simply the medical term for bedwetting. Although relatively common, enuresis causes needless misery and embarrassment to many children. Typically, enuresis goes away as the child’s body matures. In some cases, however, consulting an urologist may be helpful.

Resources

Digital Urology Journal. (nd). Urinary incontinence in women. Retrieved February 12, 2002, from www.duj.com/UrinaryIncontinence.html.

Leach, G. (nd). Urinary incontinence in men: A treatable problem. Retrieved February 18, 2002, from www.hisandherhealth.com/articles/Urinary_Incontinence_ in_Men_A_Treatable_Problem.shtml.

National Library of Medicine. (updated 2000). Stress incontinence. Retrieved February 13, 2002, from www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000891.htm.

Seek Wellness.com. (nd). Glossary of incontinence terms. Retrieved February 12, 2002, from www.seekwellness.com/incontinence/ glossary_of_incontinence_ter ms.htm#S.