Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control, different from a slight loss of urine after coughing, laughing, or sneezing, to complete helplessness to control urination.

Though it occurs more often as people get older, urinary incontinence isn't an inevitable consequence of aging. 

If urinary incontinence affects your daily activities, don't hesitate to see your doctor.

Are you looking for a doctor consultation? Consult our doctor at Medfin to know your treatment options.

What is Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control, different from a slight loss of urine after coughing, laughing, or sneezing, to complete helplessness to control urination. 

It can have causes that aren't due to underlying disease for example unavailability of bathrooms, sneezing, extreme anxiety, coughing, or extreme laughing.

However it occurs more frequently in old age, urinary incontinence isn't an unavoidable outcome of aging. 

if your daily activities are affected due to urinary incontinence don't delay seeing your doctor. For many people, medication or simple lifestyle changes can relieve pain or stop urinary incontinence.

What are the types of Urinary Incontinence?

  • Urge incontinence: you have an unexpected, extreme urge to urinate followed by a compulsory loss of urine. You will feel the urge to urinate most frequently, including during the night. 

Urge incontinence can be caused due to small conditions, such as diabetes, infection, or a more serious condition such as neurological disorder.

  • Stress incontinence: when you apply pressure on your bladder by exercising or lifting something heavy, laughing, coughing, or sneezing, urine leaks are known as stress incontinence.

  • Functional incontinence: It occurs when the person's bowel or bladder is working properly but they are unable to go to the toilet in time due to physical or mental impairment. 

For example, you may not be able to unbutton your pants if you are suffering from severe arthritis.

  • Mixed incontinence: Mixed incontinence is a combination of urge and stress incontinence. It has symptoms of both.

  • Overflow incontinence: Overflow incontinence takes place when you are not able to empty your bladder.

When will one need to consult a doctor?

You might not feel comfortable while discussing incontinence with your doctor. 

But if incontinence is impacting your daily life it's essential to seek medical advice because urinary continence may-

  • Increase the risk of falls in older people as they rush to the toilet

  • Indicate a more severe underlying condition

  • Cause you to limit social interactions and restrict your activities


What are the symptoms of Urinary Incontinence?

A small amount of urine leakage occasionally is observed. In some cases, loss of small to medium quantities of urine all the time is seen.

What are the complications associated with Urinary Incontinence?

  • Urinary tract infections: The risk of urinary tract infections is increased due to urinary continence

  • Skin problems: Continuous wet skin due to urinary continence can cause skin infections, rashes, and sores

  • Impacts on your personal life: Your relationships and social work are   impacted due to urinary incontinence

What are the methods for preventing Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary continence is not always preventable, although its risk can be reduced by

  • Eating more fiber-rich food which can prevent constipation, a cause of urinary continence

  • Maintaining a healthy weight

  • Stop smoking and seek help to quit smoking

  • Practice pelvic floor exercises

  • Avoid bladder irritants, such as alcohol, acidic foods, and caffeine

What is the Treatment for Urinary Incontinence?

Treatment will depend on different factors such as the patient's age, general health, type of incontinence, and mental state.

Firstly Your doctor will advise you on the least invasive treatments and move on to other options only when these techniques fail. Your doctor may recommend,

Bladder training: 

The aim is to control the urge. You might start by trying to hold off for 10 minutes after there is an urge to do so.

The aim is to extend the time between urinary trips until you achieve the gap of 2.5 to3.5 hours.

Fluid and diet management:

 you might need to cut back or avoid acidic foods, caffeine, alcohol, reduce the consumption of liquid, increasing physical activity, or losing weight can also reduce the problem.

Toilet timetable: 

Rather than waiting to go to the toilet the person schedules peeing times throughout the day, for example, every two hours. 

Double voiding means urinating then waiting for a couple of minutes and then trying again.

Your doctor might suggest you do some exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. This exercise includes kegel’s exercises.

Kegel exercises are very effective for stress incontinence but they may also help in urging incontinence.

Contract the muscles that you use for pausing the urine, then hold for 5 seconds, and then you must relax for at least 4-5 seconds.

In case you find it difficult to hold it for two seconds and then relax for three seconds.

  • Try to hold these contractions for a minimum of 10 seconds.

  • Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions each day.

  • Train for at least three sets of 10 repetitions daily

Your doctor may advise you to work with a physical therapist or try biofeedback techniques to help to recognize and contract the correct muscles.

Electrical stimulation:

Electrodes are put for a limited period into your vagina or rectum to strengthen and stimulate pelvic floor muscles. 

Electrical stimulation can be successful for urge incontinence and stress incontinence. But you may need various treatments over a specific time.

Medical devices:

Devices designed to treat women with urinary incontinence include,

Urethral insert: 

A tiny plug-like replaceable device is inserted into the urethra before a particular activity such as tennis that can set off incontinence. It prevents leakage and is taken out before urination.


Generally, this device is used in someone who has a pelvic organ prolapse, this device fits into your vagina, and support is provided to the vaginal tissues.

What are the other approaches to treat urinary incontinence?

Besides, behavioral techniques, medical devices, electrical stimulation, and pelvic exercises other methods include,

  • Interventional therapies: This will include nerve stimulators, botox, and bulking material injections.

  • Surgery:  Sling procedure, prolapse surgery, artificial urinary sphincter, and bladder neck suspension.

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