Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control or unintended leakage of urine. The involuntary loss of urine from the bladder constitutes a social or hygienic problem for the individual. It can be a cause of anxiety, social embarrassment and may limit ones social and daily activities.
Incontinence can affect people of all ages, although the reasons for childhood and adult incontinence are different. The most common types of incontinence in adults are stress incontinence, associated with weakened muscle support and bladder control triggered by childbirth or old age, and urge (or urgency) incontinence, the condition in which patients need to urinate frequently. Mixed incontinence is both problems combined.
Approximately 20 million adults in the USA suffer from incontinence, 85 percent of them women. A 1991 UK report found that 1 in 4 women suffers from incontinence due to childbirth, obesity, constipation, smoking, heavy lifting and the softening of ligaments during menopause.