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Urinary incontinence affects more than 13 million Americans, 85 percent of whom are women. It is more common than most chronic conditions, affecting 25 percent of reproductive-aged women and 50 percent of postmenopausal women.
A number of factors may contribute to incontinence, including:
- Childbirth, when tissues, muscles and nerves supporting the urethra may be damaged
- Hysterectomy, which increases the risk of incontinence by 30 to 40 percent
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Illness such as diabetes, lung disease or stroke
The most common types of incontinence are stress incontinence, urge incontinence (overactive bladder) and a combination of the two (mixed incontinence).
Incontinence is not a normal part of the aging process. There are a variety of treatment options available.