Urinary Incontinence

Also known as: loss of bladder control, leaky bladder.

What is urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence refers to the inability to control one’s ability to urinate. This can manifest itself in occasional leaks, or more severe problems with leaking urine that require more serious medical interventions.

What causes urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence can be caused by a variety of different factors. It can be related to other medical conditions, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI), constipation, pregnancy, prostate problems or other issues. Temporary urinary incontinence can be tied to issues such as consuming caffeine, carbonated beverages, chili peppers, chocolate or certain medications.

What are the symptoms of urinary incontinence? 

  • Leaking urine can occur due to pressure on the bladder from coughing, sneezing, laughing or exertion (stress incontinence). It can also manifest as a strong urge to urinate (urge incontinence).
  • Overflow incontinence occurs if the bladder doesn’t drain completely after urinating.
  • Functional incontinence is due to a medical impairment making it difficult to urinate properly.

What are urinary incontinence care options?

Treatment options for urinary incontinence can range from using exercises and training to avoid leaks to scheduled trips to the bathroom or diet and fluid intake changes. More severe cases of urinary incontinence may require medication, medical procedures or surgery to remedy the problems that are causing urinary incontinence.

Reviewed by: Mariarita Salvitti, MD

This page was last updated on: March 30, 2023 03:53 PM

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