Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine from your bladder.
- Prostatic enlargement, leading to overflow of urine from your bladder.
- Neurological diseases.
- Emotional factors.
- Urge incontinence: Urge incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine before you have the opportunity to go to the bathroom. There is a sudden urge to void but not enough time to reach a bathroom.
- Stress incontinence: Stress incontinence is the sudden loss of urine with any activity that forces urine to pass. It is commonly caused by anatomical changes to the pelvis and sphincter areas of your body.
- Overflow incontinence: Overflow incontinence is the loss of urine from an obstructed opening to your bladder. This results in a backup of urine and a resultant buildup of pressure within the bladder. When the pressure within the bladder exceeds the closing pressure of the sphincter, the urine overflows, which causes incontinence.
- Total incontinence: Total incontinence is the loss of urine as a result of the inability to store urine within your bladder.
- A thorough and complete medical and obstetric history.
- A complete physical exam.
- Laboratory tests such as a urine culture and sensitivities.
- An ultrasound exam.
- Kidney and bladder X-rays.
- Cystoscopy. This is an exam of the bladder using a narrow scope.
- Urodynamic testing to test the nerve function to the bladder and sphincter areas.
Depending on the cause, treatment may include:
- For urge incontinence caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed. If the urge incontinence is related to medicines you take, your health care provider may have you change the medicine.
- For stress incontinence, surgery to re-establish anatomical support to the bladder or sphincter, or both, will often correct the condition.
- For overflow incontinence caused by an enlarged prostate, an operation to open the channel through the enlarged prostate will allow the flow of urine out of the bladder. In women with fibroids, a hysterectomy may be recommended.
- For total incontinence, surgery on your urinary sphincter may help. An artificial urinary sphincter (an inflatable cuff placed around the urethra) may be required. In women who have developed a hole-like passage between their bladder and vagina (vesicovaginal fistula), surgery to close the fistula often is required.
Follow these instructions at home:
- Normal daily hygiene and the use of pads or adult diapers that are changed regularly will help prevent odors and skin damage.
- Avoid caffeine. It can overstimulate your bladder.
- Use the bathroom regularly. Try about every 2–3 hours to go to the bathroom, even if you do not feel the need to do so. Take time to empty your bladder completely. After urinating, wait a minute. Then try to urinate again.
- For causes involving nerve dysfunction, keep a log of the medicines you take and a journal of the times you go to the bathroom.
Contact a health care provider if:
- You experience worsening of pain instead of improvement in pain after your procedure.
- Your incontinence becomes worse instead of better.
Seek immediate treatment if:
- You experience fever or shaking chills.
- You are unable to pass your urine.
- You have redness spreading into your groin or down into your thighs.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider.