It's been widely believed that having a baby can cause problems of lifelong urinary incontinence for women. But it turns out that it's just as common in young women who have never been pregnant, according to a study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. Of the 1,002 women surveyed—ages 16 to 30 who had never been pregnant—researchers found that 12.6 percent of them had issues with incontinence. Previous studies show that 12 percent of women the same age who have given birth have issues of incontinence.

In the new study, the highest rate of incontinence was found among sexually active women who were not taking birth control pills. Age, BMI, and history of urinary tract infections were not factors in their leakage. They did, however, share feelings of "shame, and fear of embarrassment as a result of the condition," leading researchers to conclude that incontinence could influence women's mental health.

But that's a glass-half-full outlook. Perhaps the silver (panty) lining here is that there is now less of a divide between mothers and childless children. We are all united as a big group of pee pee pants.

Image via Shutterstock/Sergieiev

For young women, incontinence can happen regardless of pregnancy [MSNBC]