Urinary Incontinence

Overview

Urinary Incontinence happens when there’s involuntary leakage of urine.

Are there different types of urinary incontinence?

There are different types of urinary incontinence:

Stress incontinence – Urine leaks out during exertions such physical activities, or when you cough or laugh

Urge incontinence – Urine leaks when there is a sensation that you need to go to the toilet immediately. (See Overactive bladder)

Overflow incontinence – Urine leaks when you are unable to fully empty your bladder

Total incontinence – Urine leaks continuously

Stress urinary incontinence symptoms

Stress urinary incontinence occurs when you leak urine during exertion such as during physical activity. It may also happen when you cough, sneeze; lift something heavy, change positions, or exercise.

Stress urinary incontinence is more common in women affecting up to 50% of women worldwide. It can happen in men usually after procedure or surgery to the prostate area.

It is a source of psychological distress to the individual and also imposes a financial burden to the individual and the health care system.

A set of pelvic floor muscles and the urinary sphincters control urinary continence (prevent you from leaking urine during exertion)

When either of this is weak, stress urinary incontinence occurs.

Causes

  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • The loss of pelvic muscle tone often due to aging
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Chronic cough
  • Obesity
  • Post-menopausal
  • Smoking
  • Surgery to the pelvic and/or vaginal areas
  • Surgery to the prostate (men)

Although stress urinary incontinence is more common among older individuals but it should not be considered as normal part of aging.

When to see a doctor

You should see a specialist when the urinary incontinence is affecting your quality of life.

Articles

In-depth article of urinary incontinence