Urinary incontinence is a very common problem for women. It is estimated that 46% of young women experience the involuntary loss of urine at some time. Stress incontinence is a type of incontinence that involves the muscle contractions used during sneezing, laughing, coughing, or playing sports. Urinary incontinence can be unpredictable and embarrassing. Stress incontinence can lead to anxiety, avoidance of activities, and limited interactions with others. Although stress incontinence is common, it does not appear that women are seeking help for the condition.
In a large study of menstruating women, 15% reported having stress incontinence for about 6 years. Of the women with incontinence, 10% gave up playing sports and 20% changed or gave up regular activities in hopes of avoiding stress incontinence. The researchers estimate that the numbers would be higher for older women. If you experience urinary incontinence, talk to your doctor. In most cases, conservative treatments can help and get you back to the activities that you enjoy.