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The bladder is a pelvic organ which stores urine produced by the kidneys. It can store up to around 350 mls-500 mls of urine.
You may be aware that your bladder is filling when it is about half full. To empty the bladder, you have to be able to relax the pelvic floor when it is a convenient time to urinate. The brain will then send a signal to the bladder to start squeezing out the urine after the pelvic floor relaxes.
The number of times you urinate depends on certain factors such as the amount you drink. Most people should urinate less than 8 times during the day, and either not at all or once during the night.
Male lower urinary tract Female lower urinary tract
Urinary incontinence is any involuntary loss of urine. The risk of developing incontinence increases with age, but younger people may also have it. Women are more likely to suffer from incontinence than men.
Urinary incontinence occurs in 14.5% of people in Asia and has adverse social, occupational, domestic, physical, sexual and psychological effects in individuals.
Incontinence is common but people with this condition delay consulting their doctors and go without treatment because they may perceive it as part of ageing or they are unaware of available treatments. Some may feel embarrassed discussing it with anyone.
If incontinence is common for you or affects your quality of life, please seek medical advice. In most cases, there are various treatment options for urinary incontinence. These include pelvic floor exercises (also known as Kegel exercises), drug treatment, or surgery. Your urologist can discuss with you on the best treatment option after consultation.
There are basically 3 different kinds of incontinence, namely stress urinary incontinence (SUI), urge incontinence (UUI) and mixed incontinence. We are mainly discussing SUI in this patient education pamphlet.
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) means that you leak urine when there is a sudden increase in pressure on your bladder. These may occur during certain activities like coughing, sneezing, or laughing, exercises like running or jumping, or something really common like lifting heavy things such as groceries. For people with severe form of SUI, they may even leak on sudden movement eg; moving up from a sitting to standing position. During the time when the pressure on the bladder increases, your urethra or urinary sphincter cannot resist the pressure of a full bladder, and you will leak urine.
Causes of SUI for females
Common risk factors for males include:
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