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Urinary Incontinence

What Is Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is a condition where urine leaks from the bladder when you don’t want it to. The condition is quite common, affecting approximately 25 to 33 percent of American men and women.

It can be caused by:


The symptoms of urinary incontinence vary depending on the type of incontinence you have. The different forms include:

  • Overactive bladder – Also known as “urgency” incontinence, the main symptoms are the sudden urge to “go,” frequently urinating throughout the day and night, and having to urinate even when your bladder is not full.

  • Overflow incontinence – This is when the body produces more urine than the bladder can hold. The most common symptoms are a constant drip of urine and only urinating a minor amount.

  • Stress urinary incontinence – This is when weak pelvic muscles allow urine to leak out. It is more common in women than in men, particularly older women. Leakage can happen while coughing, sneezing, exercising, laughing, walking, bending or lifting.

  • Mixed incontinence – This is a combination of stress urinary incontinence and overactive bladder.

While it is a medical problem, it can also cause social anxiety and isolation for many people because they are afraid of being away from a toilet in case they have bladder leakage.

Treatment Options

While you may feel embarrassed if you have urinary incontinence, it is important to talk to your doctor because there are many treatments available. Treatment options for urinary incontinence include:

  • Absorbent products – These include pads or protective garments worn like normal underwear.

  • Behavioral changes – Strategies to manage the symptoms include bladder training, adjusting your diet and fluid consumption, double voiding, and scheduling trips to the toilet every few hours even if you don’t need to go.

  • Catheters – Your doctor may insert a soft tube into the urethra to drain the bladder.

  • Electrical stimulation – Electrodes can be used to stimulate the pelvic floor muscles.

  • Interventional therapies – These include Botox injections, bulking material injections and nerve stimulators.

  • Medications – These include alpha blockers to relax bladder muscles, anticholinergics to treat overactive bladder, Mirabegron to relax bladder muscles and topic estrogen in a ring, patch or vaginal cream.

  • Medical devices – For women, these include a pessary (a vaginal ring that supports the bladder) or urethral insert (a tampon-like product inserted into the urethra before activities that can trigger incontinence).

  • Pelvic floor training – These include Kegel exercises and physical therapy to strengthen the muscles that control urination.

  • Surgery – Surgical procedures can treat the underlying cause of incontinence, such as weak muscles.

Ready for an Appointment?

If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of urinary incontinence, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat urinary incontinence.