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Incontinence - Overview

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Urinary incontinence has recently gained considerable attention in the United States. It is estimated that approximately 10 to 20 million people (10-35% of the U.S. population) are suffering from urinary incontinence. Nearly 50 percent of the institutionalized elderly are incontinent.

The estimated cost of diagnosis and treatment of this group is $15 billion per year. Though these numbers are staggering, about half of incontinent patients do not alert their physician or family members of their problem. Unfortunately, most of these individuals assume nothing can be done for incontinence or feel that leakage is a normal part of aging.

Urinary incontinence is defined as the involuntary loss of urine from the bladder. It is important to remember that not all incontinence is the same. There are several types of incontinence:

  • Stress incontinence

  • Urge incontinence

  • Mixed incontinence

  • Overflow incontinence

  • Functional incontinence

Correct diagnosis of the type of incontinence is the first and most important step in developing an appropriate and effective treatment plan for incontinence.