Why is urinary incontinence more common in women?

Urinary incontinence (UI) is the accidental leakage of urine. At different ages, males and females have different risks for developing UI. In childhood, girls usually develop bladder control at an earlier age than boys, and bed-wetting -- or nocturnal enuresis -- is less common in girls than in boys. However, adult women are far more likely than adult men to experience UI because of anatomical differences in the pelvic region and the changes induced by pregnancy and childbirth. Nevertheless, many men do suffer from incontinence. Its prevalence increases with age, but UI is not an inevitable part of aging.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Even though 1 in 4 women over 40 suffer from some type of urinary incontinence, most are too embarrassed to talk about it. Whether it's leaking a little when you laugh too hard, being unable to hold it until you reach the bathroom, or spraying instead of urinating in a steady stream, many women suffer unnecessarily from highly treatable problems. In fact, only 1 in 12 women will ever get help, and yet 80% of the time urinary problems can be completely cured.
Jill Rabin
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Urinary Incontinence (UI), as defined by the International Continence Society, is “the complaint of any involuntary leakage of urine.” Girls, the sad but true fact is that incontinence primarily strikes women. So why does this happen to us? Unfortunately, our pelvic anatomy works against us. Women are susceptible to bladder infections, also known as urinary tract infections (UTIs) or cystitis. Bacteria can easily enter women’s bladders because our vagina, urethra, and anus are close together and because our short urethras make it easier for germs to travel where they shouldn’t go.
Mind Over Bladder: I Never Met a Bathroom I Didn't Like!

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Mind Over Bladder: I Never Met a Bathroom I Didn't Like!

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Urinary Incontinence

Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence (UI) is the accidental release of urine, which can affect both men and women. Symptoms of UI may differ from person to person and the treatment options range from medications to surgery. Learn more from our ex...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.