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What to do about urinary incontinence

Written by Diane Archer

Urinary incontinence is not uncommon for women. And, the risk of urinary incontinence increases as you get older. Fortunately, there are several ways to deal with it, reports Dr. Jen Gunter for The New York Times

According to the National Institute on Aging, every day adults pass a quart and a half of urine through the bladder and out of the body. Urinary incontinence is simply leakage of urine that is outside your control. One in four young women have it. One in two middle-aged women have it. And, three in four older women experience it.

You may experience urinary incontinence when you are exercising or otherwise active, including coughing or sneezing. Or, you may have an overactive bladder which causes you to need to use the restroom often, even in the middle of the night. Or, you may have both.

You do not need to see a doctor for urinary incontinence, particularly if your symptoms do not concern you. And, you can sometimes treat it yourself through daily Kegel exercises. With a Kegel exercise, you squeeze or contract your pelvic floor muscles, holding the squeeze for as long as ten seconds. You can also do two second flicks. In so doing you strengthen these muscles.

You should also try not to hold urine in your bladder for more than a few hours at a time. That can weaken bladder muscles.

If you are concerned about your symptoms, a doctor can diagnose your condition. Before assuming you have urinary incontinence, keep in mind that if you drink a lot of water, that may be the cause of your need to urinate. Also, the doctor may check to see whether you have a bladder infection, which can cause incontinence. For that, you will need to have a urine test.

If you do have urinary incontinence, the doctor could prescribe you medications or other treatments.

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