A term meaning inability to retain urine or control bowel movements, or excessive indulgence in sex. This article deals with the first of these meanings.

Incontinence is usual in the very young because they have not sufficient muscular control, and because their bladders have not grown large enough to hold the nightly production of urine.

It is important not to punish a child for soiling a happy. A sympathetic attitude and good timing will achieve more. Remember that different children gain control over their bowel movements and urination at different ages.

In adults, inability to retain urine may be due to strong emotional or other causes. The term 'urinary stress incontinence' refers to leakage of urine due to laughing, coughing or some sudden movement.

In women, this is usually the late result of strains to the pelvic muscles incurred in childbirth and happens at or after the menopause. Treatment is generally a straightforward operation to repair the strained muscles.

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