What is incontinence?
Incontinence is the inability to control the passage of urine or stool. Current figures indicate that 25 to 45 percent of American women suffer with involuntary loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence) and that 10 percent of these people also have problems with bowel control (fecal incontinence).
Often, embarrassment and the stigma associated with incontinence prevent the person from seeking treatment, even when incontinence threatens his or her quality-of-life and that of his or her family.
Urinary and fecal incontinence can be cured or significantly improved once the underlying cause has been detected. However, it's important to recognize that incontinence is a symptom and not a disease. Its cause may be quite complex and involve many factors. Your physician should complete an in-depth evaluation before beginning treatment.
What can I do to address this problem?
Getting help means taking the first step. See your doctor. Diagnostic tests for incontinence can be completed in the outpatient setting and are not painful. Once these tests have confirmed the cause of your incontinence, your physician can make specific recommendations for treatment, many of which do not require surgery. No matter how serious the problem seems, incontinence is a condition that can be significantly helped and, in most cases, cured.