“I was so relieved to find out it was a medical condition that could be fixed”
To better understand urinary incontinence, it helps to know how the urinary system works. Urinary function starts with your brain and spinal cord, which work together to direct the urinary system.
When your urinary system is functioning normally, you are able to control when to hold and release urine. When your bladder becomes full, it sends a signal to your brain, which in turn sends a message to the bladder to release urine into the urethra. The urethral sphincter muscle, which surrounds the urethra, opens and closes the bladder neck – it will contract to temporarily hold urine, or release itself to let urine out of the urethra and your body.
There can be several reasons why your bladder stops functioning correctly. Your brain may no longer properly signal the bladder, the sphincters do not squeeze strongly enough, or both. Alternatively, there could be a problem with the bladder muscle itself or the nerves that control these muscles where the muscle either contracts too much, or not enough. 5
Sometimes there are very evident causes for urinary incontinence such as in cases of pregnancy, surgery or accidental injury. Other times it can be much less defined with no clear answer as to the cause. 6