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The bladder starts to contract suddenly, even when it's not full.
Women are more vulnerable to bladder problems as, after the menopause, declining oestrogen levels make tissues in the urethra - the tube through which urine passes - thinner and weaker, reducing bladder support.
'Its cells have an extraordinary capacity to regenerate,' explain David Lloyd, a consultant liver surgeon at Leicester Royal Infir mary.
By 40, we could be losing up to 10,000 per day, affecting memory, co-ordination and brain function.By the age of 40, some people are already experiencing breathlessness.