Urinary Incontinence (UI) is defined as the complaint of involuntary loss of urine. Multiple types of UI have been subcategorized in both men and women. The most prominent are stress urinary incontinence (SUI), urgency urinary incontinence (UUI), and mixed urinary incontinence (MUI). SUI is defined as the complaint of involuntary loss of urine on effort or physical exertion. UUI is the complaint of involuntary loss of urine associated with urgency and MUI encompasses symptoms of both urge and stress. Additional types of urinary incontinence frequently encountered in urologic practice include overflow incontinence secondary to anatomic or functional obstruction, postural incontinence, nocturnal enuresis, continuous incontinence, insensible incontinence, and coital incontinence.1,2 Specific information regarding the geriatric population, including transient causes of incontinence, may be reviewed in the Core Curriculum section “Geriatrics: Urinary Incontinence and Voiding Dysfunction.”
Despite the prevalence and cost of UI many patients defer seeking help. Common misperceptions in the community include the idea that UI is a “normal” part of the aging process and that only limited and inadequate solutions are available.
UI also affects men although etiology and risk factors differ markedly between genders. Although much of this section will be focused on female UI,evaluation and non-surgical treatment options are generally applicable to either gender with the obvious exception of vaginal pessaries and devices.
Patient education materials describing general symptoms and causes of urinary incontinence are available through the Urology Care Foundation at www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/urinary-incontinence.
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