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Urinary Incontinence: Symptoms and Causes

A common medical condition known as urinary incontinence affects a person's ability to control their bladder. This condition is more common in women than in men. This condition is treatable and can be fixed with the right medical care. This is actually not a disease, but a symptom of a medical problem. This condition can greatly affect your daily activities. There are certain symptoms that help us detect this condition. Through appropriate medical care, this condition may be cured. Here is a detailed outlook on the symptoms and causes of urinary incontinence.

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What is Urinary Incontinence?

It is a medical condition where the urine leaks involuntarily. This occurs because the person cannot control the bladder as and when it is needed. It is an embarassing condition and it can affect your normal daily activities like exercising, sneezing, coughing, losing weight, etc. People suffering from urine incontinence have a strong urge to pee. You must be aware of bladder incontinence causes to treat this condition.

Why does it happen?

We all know that the brain controls the urinary bladder. Once the bladder is full, the brain sends signals to empty the urine. The pelvic muscles are responsible for holding the bladder. When this muscle gets weakened, you may lose the ability to control urine.

Urinary Incontinence-Types

Urinary incontinence is classified into several types based on its cause. Stress, physical activity and medical issues can result in urinary incontinence.

  • Stress Incontinence: You may experience urine leakage when you put stress on your bladder due to coughing, sneezing, etc.
  • Urge Incontinence: There would be an urge to urinate, which would be followed by urine leakage without your knowledge.
  • Overflow Incontinence: In this type of urine incontinence, the urine leaks continuously.

Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence

The following are certain symptoms of urinary incontinence:

  • Leakage of urine when performing various normal activities
  • Urge to urinate
  • Bed-wetting
  • Frequent urination at night
  • Frequent dribbling of urine
  • Sudden leakage of urine

If you notice the above symptoms of urinary incontinence, proper medical intervention is a must.

Causes of Urinary Incontinence

There are various reasons for urinary incontinence. Some of the common causes of urinary incontinence are weak pelvic muscles, a nervous disorder that disrupts bladder control, inflammation of the bladder, UTI, constipation, an overactive bladder, childbirth, hysterectomy, damage to the urethra and others. Women are at greater risk of being affected by this condition. The cause of the condition determines its severity. Your doctor would be able to assess the cause of the condition based on your symptoms.


This condition is easy to diagnose when you experience the involuntary release of urine. A proper diagnosis can help identify the exact cause of the problem. The following are the tests performed to diagnose the condition:

  • A blood test helps to determine the presence of chemicals in the urine that are causing urinary incontinence.
  • An ultrasound test of the bladder gives a clear picture of the bladder and helps in detecting problems in the bladder.
  • A urine test is done to check for any abnormalities or infections.
  • A cystogram test is carried out to detect issues in the urinary tract.
  • Cystoscopy is a procedure where a tiny lens is inserted into the urethra to study issues in the lining of the bladder and urethra.

How do You Treat Urinary Incontinence?

There are several treatments that can help cure urinary incontinence. Medications, surgery and therapies can help treat urinary incontinence. There are many medicines that are effective in treating urinary incontinence. Consult a physician before taking any medications. It is possible to treat the condition by increasing the bladder capacity with certain medicines. Physicians also recommend creams that can help strengthen the vaginal tissues in women.

A sling surgery procedure is carried out to treat urinary stress incontinence. Bladder neck sling surgery is another procedure for treating the same. Inserting a small device under the buttocks can help treat an overactive bladder. Injecting certain implants can help stop urine leakage.

Complementary therapies also work great to treat urinary incontinence. Training your bladder can help get rid of urinary incontinence. In this training, a regular urination schedule is prepared to empty the bladder. Your doctor would recommend kegel exercises or pelvic floor exercises. This would strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and avoid urinary incontinence.

There are several products that can be used to manage the problem of urinary incontinence. The use of pads can help manage urine leakage issues. Plugs are used to cope with light urine leakage. This can block the flow of urine. Use a catheter to drain the urine regularly and to avoid urine incontinence.

Also Read : Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)


It is possible to prevent urinary incontinence. The following ways can help reduce the risk of developing urinary incontinence:

  • Help in maintaining proper weight
  • Practising pelvic floor exercises.
  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat lots of fibre.


1. What are the causes of urinary incontinence?

The cause of urinary incontinence helps identify the underlying health issue. The common causes of urinary incontinence are an overactive bladder, constipation, UTI, menopause, weak pelvic muscles, a damaged urethra and an inflamed bladder. Pregnancy and childbirth weaken the pelvic muscles, resulting in urinary incontinence.

2. What are the first symptoms of urinary incontinence?

When you notice the below symptoms, you may suffer from urinary incontinence.

  • Involuntary urine leakage
  • Strong urge to urinate
  • Leakage of urine during sneezing, coughing, etc.
  • Frequent dribbling of urine.

3. What are the four types of urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence comes in different types. The cause of urinary incontinence helps differentiate the types.

  • Stress incontinence: This is a type of incontinence where you experience urine leakage when performing normal activities like exercising, coughing, sneezing, etc.
  • Urge incontinence: Due to an overactive bladder, the urge to incontinence gets increased. This makes it difficult to hold urine.
  • Overflow incontinence: This type of urine incontinence occurs because it is not possible to empty the bladder completely.
  • Functional incontinence: This is due to the inability to reach the bathroom in time.

4. What is the most common cause of urge urinary incontinence?

The most common cause of urge urinary incontinence is an overactive bladder. People suffering from diabetes, Alzheimer's and other chronic medical issues suffer from urinary incontinence.

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