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Urinary incontinence is any unintentional leakage
of urine. It can be caused by several underlying medical conditions, including
urinary infections, strokes, pregnancy, obesity, neurological problems, and
other health problems sometimes associated with aging. Stress incontinence is a type of urinary incontinence. A person with
stress incontinence is unable to hold urine while coughing, sneezing, or laughing
or during other movements that put pressure on the bladder, the organ that collects and holds urine. Fortunately, stress incontinence
can usually be successfully treated.
The July 16, 2003, issue of JAMA includes an article about
When you urinate, the muscles of the bladder tighten and squeeze the
urine out through the urethra, a tube that leads
from the bladder to the outside of your body. At the same time, muscles surrounding
the urethra loosen, allowing the urine to pass through. These muscles can
also tighten and squeeze the urethra shut to prevent urine from passing. If
these muscles become weak or damaged, they may not be able to hold urine during
activities such as sneezing or laughing. The resulting urine leakage may be
just a small amount, or if the bladder is full, it may be more.
Parmet S, Lynm C, Glass RM. Stress Incontinence. JAMA. 2003;290(3):426. doi:10.1001/jama.290.3.426
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