Younger women experience urinary incontinence, too
Most people assume that urinary incontinence is something that affects mostly older women or women who have undergone childbirth, but a new study suggests that young women and women who have never been pregnant suffer from the condition as well. They’re just less apt to talk about it.
For the study, researchers asked just more than 1,000 women aged 16 to 22 to complete questionnaires about urinary incontinence during routine activities or sports, psychological well-being, physical activity, and health. Unlike previous studies, age, weight, physical activity, or past urinary tract infections had no bearing on whether a woman reported urinary incontinence. Researchers said this was likely because the women in the new study were younger, more physically active and, for the most part, of normal body weight.
The results showed that women who were sexually active but did not use oral contraceptives were more likely to experience urinary incontinence than women with no history of sexual activity. Researchers speculated this may be due to the effects of intercourse and altered bacteria in the urogenital tract.
While advanced age, childbirth and obesity can cause urinary incontinence, experts say that some women may be genetically predisposed to the condition.
Treatments for urinary incontinence vary depending on the type of condition. Stress urinary incontinence is the most common type. Women with stress urinary incontinence accidentally leak urine when sneezing, coughing, or laughing. A popular treatment option includes the sling procedure, or bladder sling, which involves inserting surgical mesh through the vagina to shore up the bladder or other organs that have dropped.
In August 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning based on a growing number of complaints from January 2008 to December 2010, saying that transvaginal mesh should be classified as posing high risk to patients and may not be the best option for all women.
- Surgery may not be best answer for urinary incontinence
- Transvaginal mesh prevents urinary incontinence, but may lead to serious side effects
- Some urinary incontinence treatments are safer than others
- Injection therapy for incontinence may be safer than transvaginal mesh
- Antidepressant may be safer treatment for stress urinary incontinence