Incontinence and Young Women

Traditionally, incontinence is thought of as an older person’s health issue. Many do not realize that incontinence can affect you no matter your age. Incontinence is more likely to happen to elderly people, because muscles weaken as you age, and because many times the elderly may have mobility issues and are not able to make it to the restroom. Incontinence is also prevalent in those with dementia.

For women, childbirth can be a cause of incontinence. Some women may not experience incontinence due to childbirth until years later. Pelvic floor muscles can be damaged during childbirth but symptoms of incontinence may be absent until women age more and the muscles weaken over time.

The results of a study published in the December 2013 edition of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms have recently come out with information that may be surprising. Turkish researchers found that incontinence affects 1 in 3 pre-menopausal women. The study included 690 women age 18-53 with a mean age of 35.

The prevalence of urinary incontinence was 27.2%. Of these women with incontinence, 36.7% were classified as stress incontinence, 32.4% as urge incontinence and 30.9% as mixed incontinence. Stress incontinence is the inability to hold urine in the bladder triggered by stress caused by sneezing, laughing, or coughing. Stress incontinence may also result from lifting heavy objects. Urge incontinence, also known as an overactive bladder, occurs when there is a sudden, uncontrolled “urge” to urinate. Mixed incontinence is characterized by a mix of symptoms from stress and urge incontinence.

The study found that three factors emerge as significant predictors of any form of urinary incontinence: age greater than 35, no education beyond primary school, and having had three or more children. Having a body mass index (BMI) of over 25 was a risk factor for incontinence. Calculate your BMI here.

The authors of the study noted that it is difficult to get accurate data about urinary incontinence, especially in pre-menopausal women. They said that the strength of this study is that it was conducted with self-reported data in the form of questionnaires, rather than clinical or physical examination.

Incontinence is more common than people think. If you are suffering from urinary incontinence, contact us or call our discreet, dedicated Medical Concierge at 800-771-1953.