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Urinary incontinence - loss of bladder control

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Problems with urine leakage may require you to take extra care to keep your skin clean and dry. You may need to use a washcloth to clean and dry yourself. Products such as powders, moisturizers and deodorizing tablets are available that can help you feel clean and eliminate urine odor.

Coping skills

People cope with urinary incontinence in a variety of ways. Some people choose to wear absorbent pads and never mention the problem to anyone. Perhaps you cope by always carrying an extra set of clothes with you, in case of an accident. Or you manage by staying at home or only going to places that have easily accessible toilets. You may even cut back on drinking liquids — and risk dehydration — to avoid wetting episodes.

But there are better ways to manage urinary incontinence, and new treatments for incontinence are continually being discovered. That's why it's important to see your doctor.

Many people feel embarrassed about incontinence. But it's a common problem. And fortunately, the stigma surrounding this condition is slowly eroding. Many people are discussing it with more openness. Pharmaceutical companies are now advertising medications for overactive bladder on television, increasing awareness of the problem.

Talk to your doctor about treatments for incontinence. You'll be on your way to regaining an active and confident life — and control of your bladder.

Synthetic Estrogen Pills Cause Urinary Incontinence in Over Half of Women

Estrogen pills, those with or without progestin, may increase women's risk of becoming incontinent, or make the condition worse in those who already have it, according to the Women's Health Initiative study. It was previously thought that the hormone pills would prevent incontinence, and many doctors had prescribed them specifically to treat it.

In the study of over 27,000 women between the ages of 50 and 79, those who took estrogen pills for one year were 53 percent more likely to develop urinary incontinence than those who took a placebo. Women who took pills with both estrogen and progestin had a 39 percent increased risk.

Risks for stress incontinence, in which urine leakage is preceded by pressure on the abdomen from sneezing, laughing, walking or coughing, were most severe. Women taking estrogen pills more than doubled their risk of stress incontinence, while those on combined estrogen and progestin pills had similar risks.

In terms of women who already had incontinence, compared with women taking a placebo those taking estrogen pills had a 60 percent greater risk that it would worsen in a year, while those on the combined pills had a 20 percent greater risk of worsening.

The same study previously found that hormone pills increase the risk of:

The findings prompted millions of menopausal women to quit using the hormones. In fact, prescriptions for the pills fell to 11 million in the first half of 2004 (after the study was released), down from 16 million in the beginning of 2002.

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