You are not alone

One in Three Woman Worldwide Suffer from Urinary Incontinence

One in three women worldwide suffer from some form of urinary incontinence. It is estimated that urinary incontinence affects nearly 175 million women worldwide.

We have gathered a collection of links to urinary incontinence information and articles that can help you learn more about the causes and treatments for this medical condition.

Urinary Incontinence in Women Statistics

Some statistics about urinary incontinence from Phoenix Physical Therapy, PlC

  • Of the 25 million adult Americans suffering from some form of urinary incontinence, 75-80% of those are women.
  • Urinary Incontinence affects 200 million people worldwide.
  • One in four women over the age of 18 experience episodes of leaking urine involuntarily.
  • On average, women wait 6.5 years from the first time they experience symptoms until they obtain a diagnosis for their bladder control problem(s).
  • Stress urinary incontinence, the most prevalent form of incontinence among women, affects an estimated 15 million adult women in the U.S.
  • About 17% of women and 16% of men over 18 years old have overactive bladder (OAB) and an estimated 12.2 million adults have urge incontinence.
  • Urinary Incontinence is twice as common in women as in men.
  • Pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause are major reasons of the increased prevalence of incontinence in women as compared to men.
  • Between the ages of 18 and 44, approximately 24% of women experience incontinence.
  • For women over age 60, approximately 23% experience incontinence.

Copyight © 2016 Phoenix Physical Therapy, PLC. All rights reserved.

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National Association for continence

An excerpt from NAFC article on Women’s Conditions

Woman’s Conditions

For something that affects close to 18 million women, it is surprising how many choose to suffer urinary incontinence in silence. Not only must these women contend with the physical symptoms, they have to bear a great deal of emotional pain as well. All of this stems from the misinformed idea that incontinence is an untreatable consequence of having had children or as a result of aging.

While these life events can create circumstances for incontinence, the truth is the vast majority of incontinence can be successfully treated and managed. As with any health-related issue, the best thing to do is to fully understand what you are dealing with. Once better informed, you and your physician can devise the best plan for success. Types of bladder and bowel control problems are noted below and detailed further on dedicated pages.

Copyight © 2015 National Association For Continence

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An excerpt from the Urinary incontinence fact sheet from

What causes UI? Urinary incontinence fact sheet

UI is usually caused by problems with muscles and nerves that help to hold or pass urine.

Urine is stored in the bladder. It leaves the body through a tube that is connected to the bladder called the urethra. Muscles in the wall of the bladder contract to force urine out through the urethra. At the same time, sphincter (ss-FINK-ter) muscles around the urethra relax to let the urine pass out of the body.

Incontinence happens if the bladder muscles suddenly contract or the sphincter muscles are not strong enough to hold back urine.

UI is twice as common in women as in men. Pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause are major reasons why. But both women and men can become incontinent from brain injury, birth defects, stroke, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and physical changes associated with aging.

  • Pregnancy — Unborn babies push down on the bladder, urethra (tube that you urinate from), and pelvic floor muscles. This pressure may weaken the pelvic floor support and lead to leaks or problems passing urine.
  • Childbirth — Many women leak urine after giving birth. Labor and vaginal birth can weaken pelvic floor support and damage nerves that control the bladder. Most problems with bladder control during pregnancy and childbirth go away after the muscles have time to heal. Talk to your doctor if you still have bladder problems 6 weeks after childbirth.
  • Menopause — Some women have bladder control problems after they stop having periods. After menopause, the body stops making the female hormone estrogen. Some experts think this loss of estrogen weakens the urethral tissue.
Economic Costs
  • The 1995 societal cost of incontinence for individuals 65 years of age and older was $26.3 billion, or $3,565 per individual with urinary incontinence. Most of the total cost is associated with direct treatment, such as the cost of diagnostic testing and medication.
  • The cost of OAB is 12.6 billion in year 2000 dollars. $9.1 and $3.5 billion, respectively, was incurred by community and institutional residents.
  • Nearly half of the costs of UI are for medical services paid by Medicare.
  • The cost of caring for UI and OAB in nursing facility patients is an estimated $5.3 billion.

A federal government website managed by the Office on Women’s Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Additional Urinary Incontinence Information Links
Urology Care Foundation

A Patient's Guide to Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)

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health communities

Urinary Incontinence Basics

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Bloomberg Businessweek

Sales of adult incontinence garments in the U.S. could equal those of baby diapers in a decade.

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