Incontinence facts and myths

Incontinence is a condition that affects millions of people, yet many myths exist about incontinence. Here are some truths about this common condition.

Myth: Incontinence is a natural part of aging.
Fact: Aging itself does not cause incontinence. Changes that occur naturally in the aging body may contribute to incontinence. For example, a man's prostate enlarges as he ages, a woman loses estrogen when she reaches menopause, and both men and women's bladder muscles experience aging. All of these factors may lead to incontinence. However, it doesn't mean that incontinence occurs inevitably as part of the aging process. Incontinence is not a natural part of aging and you don't have to put up with it. Talk to your doctor about what may be causing your incontinence and what can be done to manage it.

Myth: Incontinence is a disease.
Fact: Many believe incontinence is a disease. It is actually a symptom; it is your body's way of telling you that something else is going on. You should talk to your doctor, who will examine and assess you to find out what is causing the incontinence. Most likely, the underlying problem can be treated. There are many reasons why people may have problems with bladder control. To learn more about treatment options, see the Incontinence channel.

Myth: Only seniors experience incontinence.
Fact: Incontinence affects millions of men and women of all ages. It can even affect children: over 10% at or above the age of 7 can have problems with bladder control. At least 1 in 3 women over 40 experience incontinence. Incontinence can also affect women of childbearing age, and pregnant women may experience stress incontinence. So it's not just seniors who have incontinence issues.

Myth: People who have incontinence must learn to just live with it.
Fact: Depending on what is causing a person's incontinence, it can usually be effectively treated or managed, or even cured. There are many treatment and management options for incontinence. Following your treatment plan can help ensure the proper management of your incontinence. Success of treatment depends on the right diagnosis, which is why it is important to talk to your doctor. Incontinence doesn't have to stop you from living your life the way you want to. See our health features for tips on how to manage incontinence in the workplace, on vacation, and while living an active lifestyle.

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