Womens FAQs

How does pregnancy cause urinary incontinence?

Many women experience urinary incontinence during pregnancy. As the foetus grows inside of the uterus, it pushes down on and weakens the urethra, bladder, and other pelvic floor muscles. This pressure can result in urine leakage. In most cases, urinary incontinence during pregnancy will resolve itself after childbirth, and when the muscles are able to heal and regenerate. Speak to your midwife or GP if your incontinence persists more than 6 weeks after childbirth as you may need to be referred to see a Continence Specialist Nurse.

How does childbirth cause urinary incontinence?

Some women continue to have problems with urinary incontinence after childbirth. Labour and vaginal childbirth can weaken pelvic floor muscles and trigger or worsen urinary incontinence and leakage. These problems usually go away within 6 weeks; any woman still suffering from symptoms should speak to their GP to be referred to a Specialist Continence Nurse.

How does menopause cause urinary incontinence?

After menopause, a woman stops producing as much oestrogen. A lack of this hormone can weaken the urethra, allowing urine to leak out before a woman is aware that she needs to urinate. As with any muscle in the body, the muscles in the bladder and urethra grow weaker as a person ages, further contributing to urinary incontinence.

How many women worldwide suffer from incontinence?

A 2002 study shows that 32% of British women, 34% of German women, 32% of French women, and 15% of Spanish women reported having urinary incontinence symptoms in the previous 30 days. The same study estimated than 12.4% of all women are affected, worldwide. (Hunskaar, S., Lose, et al. (2003) Prevalence of Stress Urinary Incontinence in Women in Four European Countries, 2002. ICS: UK)