Urinary incontinence is leaking urine by accident
This can turn a laughing fit or fun workout into a stressful and potentially uncomfortable situation.
Urinary incontinence occurs more in older people, especially women. These bladder control problems are very common and you should not feel embarrassed talking to a urologist about your symptoms.
Three common types of urinary incontinence
Stress urinary incontinence
Stress urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine during physical activities, like laughing, jumping, sneezing or lifting heavy objects. It occurs when the muscles that support the urethra are weakened or damaged. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including:
- Hormone changes
- Prior surgery
- Pelvic radiation treatment
Urge urinary incontinence
Urge urinary incontinence is the unintended loss of urine due to an involuntary bladder contraction. Patients often describe a sense of undeniable urge to void prior to urge incontinence episodes. Patients report urge urinary incontinence as losing their warning time to make it to the bathroom. They often feel the need to go even if they just emptied their bladder.
Urge incontinence is often associated with symptoms of frequent trips to the bathroom known as overactive bladder.
Mixed urinary incontinence
Mixed urinary incontinence is involuntary bladder leakage associated with a combination of both urge and stress urinary incontinence.
1 in 2
have urinary incontinence. 
 Markland AD, Richter HE, Fwu C-W, et al. Prevalence and trends of urinary incontinence in adults in the United States, 2001 to 2008. J Urol. 2011 Aug;186(2):589-93.
Urinary incontinence affects more people than you might think.
The important thing to remember is that although incontinence is more common as we age, urine leakage is never normal. There are millions of women out there just like you who experience some form of bladder leakage.
 International Continence Society. Continence Promotion: Prevention, Education and Organization. https://www.ics.org/Publications/ICI_3/v1.pdf/chap1.pdf. Accessed December 13, 2021.
 Kinchen KS, Burgio K, Diokno AC, et al. Factors associated with women’s decisions to seek treatment for urinary incontinence. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2003 Sep;12(7):687-98.
Many women have secret strategies for managing these symptoms, like wearing liners or pads, going before leaving the house, always finding a public restroom, limiting fluids throughout the day and crossing their legs. If you’re thinking, “Hey, I use some of those same strategies,” then it may be time to explore your treatment options for relief.
Options to manage incontinence
There are many options available to manage incontinence and begin to work towards a return to more normal life. Many times, conservative treatment options for stress urinary incontinence are used initially. Some of those treatment options include behavioral modification, such as:
Pelvic floor muscle training
One type of treatment is use of pessaries, which are silicone devices fitted inside the vagina to provide support. Pessaries may or may not improve symptoms. When symptoms are more severe, or conservative options aren’t working, procedures such as bulking agent injections or sling surgery may be an option.