One of the most common physical dysfunctions in multiple sclerosis is urinary incontinence (UI) - the leakage of urine at inappropriate times. It is also common in the general population with an estimated 115 million people worldwide reporting UI in 2013, and more than 12.6 percent of the general population in the United States being diagnosed with UI.
An estimated 50-100 percent of people with MS will experience UI. Both men and women can experience UI, but it is more common in women. UI frequently involves pelvic floor muscles that attach to the bottom of the pelvic bones to form a bowl-like structure that lifts to support internal organs and control sphincter muscles.
Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) include frequency, urgency, stress and urge incontinence as well as voiding or obstructive complications. Stress incontinence occurs when the pelvic floor muscles are too weak to stop urine from leaking when you cough, laugh, or sneeze. Urge incontinence, or overactive bladder (OAB), occurs when urine leakage is closely preceded by a powerful urge to pass urine. It’s often a “I gotta go, gotta go, gotta go NOW," type of situation. Functional incontinence involves leakage when you struggle to get to the bathroom in time.
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