If you frequently feel the urgent need to urinate, or you urinate a bit every time you laugh or sneeze, you may have urinary incontinence. Controlling your bladder is often difficult, and you may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed if you are with other people or away from home.
It may be reassuring to know that urinary incontinence is a common condition, especially among older adults, and one that is highly treatable.
Urinary incontinence can be caused by lifestyle habits, medical conditions or physical problems.
Temporary incontinence may be caused by something you’re eating or drinking. Certain foods, drinks and medications can stimulate your bladder and increase urine production. A bladder leak can also be caused by a urinary tract infection, bladder infection or constipation.
Things like pregnancy, childbirth, aging or a neurological disorder can lead to persistent incontinence.
Your Mercy urologist can provide a thorough evaluation to determine the underlying cause of your urinary incontinence.
There are two main kinds of urinary incontinence.
Stress incontinence occurs when you sneeze, cough, laugh, jog or do other things that put pressure on your bladder. It is the most common type of bladder control problem in women, and is usually caused by childbirth, weight gain or other conditions that stretch the pelvic floor muscles. Men sometimes experience stress incontinence after prostate surgery.
Urge incontinence happens when you have a strong need to urinate but can't make it to a bathroom in time. This can happen even if there is only a small amount of urine in the bladder. This type of incontinence is due to an overactive bladder muscle that pushes urine out of the bladder. It may be caused by bladder irritation, stress or unknown reasons. Some people with urge incontinence may accidentally leak urine. Overactive bladder is a kind of urge incontinence, but not everyone with overactive bladder leaks urine.
Overactive bladder and stress incontinence are very different and should be treated separately. It’s common for people experiencing symptoms of overactive bladder to also have stress incontinence. The symptom bothering you the most should be treated first.
There’s no need to struggle with urinary incontinence or overactive bladder. Mercy’s specialists are here to help, with treatments ranging from lifestyle changes and simple pelvic-floor exercises to bladder training, medication and surgery. We’ll provide complete, compassionate care, so you can get back to living comfortably.