Bladder incontinence is more specifically referred to as urinary incontinence (leaking urine).
Urinary Incontinence is a very common problem affecting up to 6 million people in the United Kingdom according to the NHS and up to 200 million people worldwide (World Health Organization Calls First International Consultation on Incontinence. Press Release WHO/49, 1 July 1998). Although women are five times more likely to develop bladder incontinence than men, over 10% of men over 65 have urinary incontinence to some degree, and this incidence increases significantly with age.
Very few people seek assistance with Bladder incontinence although there are a number of treatments and exercises that can be used to help improve the condition.
It is likely that actual incidence of bladder or urinary incontinence is higher than the numbers reported as many people never report their condition.
There are different types of bladder/urinary incontinence, each with different symptoms and causes. The most common types of urinary incontinence are stress incontinence (also known as SUI), urge incontinence and mixed urinary incontinence.
Stress incontinence (also referred to as SUI) occurs when the muscles in the pelvic floor, under sudden, increased pressure (stress), are too weak to hold the urethral sphincters closed. The result is an involuntary leakage of urine during everyday activities such as sneezing, coughing, laughing or exercising.
Urge incontinence (also referred to as unstable or overactive bladder) is caused by involuntary, uncontrolled contractions of the muscle in the bladder. This results in a sudden urge to go to the toilet, and involuntary urine leakage before reaching the toilet.
Mixed urinary incontinence is a combination of stress urinary incontinence and urge urinary incontinence.
Overflow incontinence (a frequent or constant dribble of urine) results from an inability to empty the bladder and occurs in people with a damaged bladder, blocked urethra or neurological damage. With overflow incontinence you may feel as if you never completely empty your bladder. When you try to urinate, you may produce only a weak stream of urine.