How common is urinary incontinence?

How common is urinary incontinence?

How many women are affected by incontinence?

Incontinence, the involuntary leakage of urine, is common. But how many people leak? This is not as easy to answer as you might think. The statistics tend to vary widely. It depends largely on how the question is asked and how different studies define incontinence. About 10% of adult women report leaking at least once a week. Less frequent leakage is more common, affecting between 25-40% of adult women. Stress incontinence accounts for about half of incontinence in women. Our answer to the question is therefore that about 1 in 5 women suffer from stress incontinence.

In a recent survey of women aged 25-65, almost 3 out of 5 experienced urinary leakage. And 2 of these 3 had negative feelings associated with their urinary leakage. As many as a quarter of the respondents in the study felt frustrated that they don't know what to do about their leakage and they are stressed that someone will discover that they are leaking.

Another publication reviewing 36 studies focusing on the relationship between physical activity and stress urinary incontinence found evidence of an increased incidence of stress urinary incontinence in women who are physically active. Another study looked at young female athletes. Out of 104 participants, 52% reported having some level of stress urinary incontinence. Especially those involved in high-intensity sports such as weight training, crossfit and gymnastics (trampoline) are affected.

Read more about exercise and SUI here!

Pregnancy and urine leakage

Both pregnancy and childbirth are stressful for the body and especially for the pelvic floor. 1 in 3 women who are pregnant for the first time experience temporary stress incontinence. In repeat pregnancies, as many as 3 out of 4 are affected. Just after giving birth, many women leak urine, and it normally takes a few months for the muscles and ligaments of the pelvic floor to contract and become strong. Postpartum urine leakage tends to gradually disappear as the strength of the pelvic floor returns.

Read more about pregnancy and urine leakage here!

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