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Urinary Incontinence

INTRODUCTION

Urinary incontinence (UI) is defined as ANY involuntary loss of urine, regardless of the duration and the amount of leakage. This condition, albeit being embarrassing to the affected individual, is still being under reported and rarely is discussed in public. It is estimated that over 30 millions American have UI, yet perhaps 40-45% of them never mentioned it to their doctors or sought treatment for it. People who are incontinent of urine, in addition to the personal inconvenience, may also suffer from recurrent Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s), skin breakouts, falls (while attempting to get to the bathroom before urine comes out) with fractures and head injuries, social withdrawal and depression. The annual cost to the American economy is estimated to be around 17 billion dollars, not to mention the personal expense for protective undergarments, therapy for the consequences of UI, taking time off from work, or, especially in the case of many elderly, the displacement away from their homes because caring for them becomes too difficult.

Managing UI requires expertise and experience in both the accurate diagnosis and the appropriate treatment. In the following paragraphs we will review some of the more common causes that result in leakage of urine, the diagnostic modalities and treatment options for the different types of UI.

 

by Yitzhak Berger, M.D.

Updated June 23rd, 2007

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