Urinary Incontinence

What Is Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence means a person leaks urine by accident. Urinary incontinence is a common bladder problem as people age. Women are more likely than men to leak urine. If this problem is happening to you, there is help. Urinary incontinence can often be controlled. Talk to your health care provider about what you can do.

Types of Urinary Incontinence

There are different types of urinary incontinence.

  • Stress urinary incontinence happens when urine leaks as pressure is put on the bladder, for example, during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting heavy objects. It’s the most common type of bladder control problem in younger and middle-age women. It may begin around the time of menopause.
  • Urgency urinary incontinence happens when people have a sudden need to urinate and aren’t able to hold their urine long enough to get to the toilet.
  • Mixed urinary incontinence is a mix of stress and urgency urinary incontinence. You may leak urine with a laugh or sneeze at one time. At another time, you may leak urine because you have a sudden urge to urinate that you cannot control.
  • Overflow urinary incontinence happens when small amounts of urine leak from a bladder that is always full. A man can have trouble emptying his bladder if an enlarged prostate is blocking the urethra. Diabetes and spinal cord injury can also cause this type of urinary incontinence.
  • Functional urinary incontinence occurs in many older people who have a problem getting to the toilet in time. They may not make it in time because of arthritis or other disorders that make it hard to move quickly.