Everything you need to know about urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence is a common and often an embarrassing problem caused by weakening or loss of bladder control. This leads to involuntary urination due to the inability of the bladder to hold urine due to loss of control over the urinary sphincters. Urinary incontinence is more common in women compared to men. The severity ranges from the occasional leakage of urine when you sneeze or cough to getting a sudden strong urge to urinate not giving you enough time to reach a toilet.


The initial symptom is the occasional minor leakage of urine which increases with time.

Types of urinary incontinence

There are different types of incontinence categorized based on the symptoms and the level of severity of the problem.

  • Stress Incontinence
  • Urge Incontinence
  • Overflow Incontinence
  • Functional Incontinence
  • Mixed Incontinence

Causes of urinary incontinence:

Urinary incontinence can be caused by certain types of food which may stimulate the bladder and increase the volume of urine. Foods such as alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, chili peppers etc may act as diuretics. It can also be caused by certain medical conditions like constipation and urinary tract infection which are easily treatable.

Certain underlying physical problems or changes in the body can cause urinary incontinence. Some of them are:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Multiple Pregnancies
  • Delayed progress of labour in previous pregnancy
  • Aging
  • Menopause
  • Hysterectomy
  • Enlarged Prostate
  • Prostate cancer
  • Neurological problems

Risk Factors

Some of the factors which may increase your risk of developing urinary incontinence are:

  • Age
  • Overweight
  • Gender: Women
  • Smoking
  • A family history of urinary incontinence
  • Other Diseases


The diagnosis involves the some of the following tests:

  • Urinalysis
  • Post-void residual measurement
  • Pelvic Ultrasound
  • Cystogram
  • Cystoscopy


Treatment for urinary incontinence is given taking into consideration certain factors like the type of incontinence, patient’s age, the severity of the condition, and overall health of the patient. Some of the treatments are:

Bladder Training: Bladder training is done to gradually regain the control of the bladder. It is done by delaying urination, maintaining a bathroom schedule, and maintaining a proper diet.

Kegel Exercise: Kegel exercises help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and the urinary sphincter to help in controlling urination.

Biofeedback: In this method, an electrical patch is placed on the skin of your urethra and bladder. The patch helps to monitor the contraction of muscles which in turn helps you to control them in order to prevent leakage.

Nerve Stimulation: In this method, quick pulses of electricity are sent to the muscles around the bladder to help in strengthening it.

Medication: Certain medications will be prescribed by your doctor to help in bladder control

Devices: Certain devices like urethral inserts, pessary etc can help in bladder control for women.

Surgery: Surgery is recommended when other treatments do not work. Women who want to have children in the future must discuss it with the doctor before making a decision.

Mint Hospital is a multispecialty hospital in Chennai, offering all round medical support for infertility and related problems for both men and women. The Hospital located in Adyar, has an experienced team of specialists ready to address any of your medical needs. For more information visit our website.