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Why is incontinence more common in women?

Women are much more likely to experience incontinence than men. Here are the key reasons women experience incontinence and simple tips to manage it.

3 min read
Why is incontinence more common in women?
Table of contents

Why is incontinence more common in women?

Plus some tips for management

Why is incontinence more common in women?

Plus some tips for management

You’re not alone: women of all ages experience incontinence. Whether it arises from pregnancy-related issues or ageing, it’s an occurrence that women across a range of life stages can relate to. Yes, incontinence is also experienced by men, but it’s more common for women. 51.1% of women aged 20 years or older experience urinary incontinence, vs 13.9% of men, according to this study.

From a technical perspective the answer is because the female urethra is shorter than the male urethra. Any weakness or damage to the urethra in a woman is more likely to cause urinary incontinence. This is because there is less muscle keeping the urine in until you are ready to urinate.

While incontinence isn’t a common dinner table discussion, it is an important conversation for us to have with loved ones and health professionals. Bring it up with your mother, your sister, your friends and your GP.

So, why is incontinence more common with women? Ten points if you guessed pregnancy and childbirth are primary reasons.

Approximately 30% of women become incontinent after their first vaginal delivery - the impact of childbirth has an ongoing continence-related effect for many women. It also occurs because of differences in the structure of the female urinary tract and menopause. Simply put, expected changes to the female body can directly correlate to the likelihood of incontinence. As we move through the stages of life, incontinence may naturally occur; it’s a normalised and common experience for women all over the globe.

Simple tips for continence management

The most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone. Many of the women you meet and come in contact with on a daily basis are likely going through the same thing! By making the most of some simple continence management tips during your day, you can simplify the experience, whilst remaining as active as you like to limit the impact incontinence has on you.

Regular Exercise

Not only is regular exercise good for your overall health and wellbeing, 30 minutes of exercise a day can improve bowel and bladder function.

Strengthen your pelvic floor

Have you heard of Kegel exercises? The tightening of the pelvic floor is beneficial to women of all ages, whether you’re addressing existing incontinence issues or using the exercises as a preventative measure. Incorporate Kegel exercises into your routine in order to strengthen your pelvic floor and contribute to your ongoing muscle health.

Use the right products

Continence management products don’t have to be complicated. The best products are simple to use, comfortable to wear, and designed for effortless comfort during your daily activities. With a wide range of incontinence products available, find a match for your specific continence needs, giving you peace of mind and full comfort as you move about your day.

Build good toilet habits

Going to the bathroom “just in case” isn’t helpful in protecting your bladder’s ongoing health. Emptying your bladder too often may cause it to shrink since it doesn’t have the chance to fill up entirely. A healthy bladder will need to be emptied 4-6 times a day. If you’re going more than this, practice holding until you truly need to empty it - ideally when you’re in a safe space like your home or office.

Women carry the world on their shoulders, but worrying about incontinence shouldn’t be another task on your to-do list. With an empowered approach to continence management, equip yourself to live life to the full - confidently, comfortably and securely.