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  • Urinary Incontinence (UI) is the unwanted and involuntary leakage of urine
  • There are 2 major types of urinary incontinence:  stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and urge incontinence or overactive bladder (OAB).
  • Overactive Bladder (OAB) is severe urinary urgency and frequency, or "urge incontinence".  Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is an uncontrollable and involuntary loss of urine that occurs when abdominal pressure or "stress" is placed on a weakened urethral sphincter muscle (the bladder "valve" outlet).
  • Estimates are that at least 25 million Americans suffer from these conditions.
  • SUI and OAB affect more than twice as many women as men; these problems are believed to be a significant health issue for aging women.
  • The prevalence of UI is about 31% in women in the United States between 42 and 50 years old, and 38% for community-dwelling women and men who are older than 60 years old.
  • The prevalence of OAB is 30% to 40% in persons over 75 years of age.
  • To put this into perspective, in the elderly, OAB is more common than diabetes and is similar in prevalence to asthma.
  • 8 out of 10 nursing home residents with incontinence are women.
  • Prevalence for UI and OAB rises in both men and women as they age.
  • Available information suggests that minorities with UI and OAB are decidedly underserved.
  • Many assume that UI and OAB are "normal" symptoms of aging. Thus, persons with these conditions do not go for treatment and they may withdraw from social life, reluctant to discuss their condition with their physician, family, or friends.
  • Most cases of UI and OAB can be managed using a combination of the currently available treatments:  surgery, pharmacologic interventions, behavioral methods, devices, and alternative measures.

Click here for more information on incontinence.

Created: 5/24/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.
Reviewed: 6/27/2002  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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