Circle of Life Women's Center has established this website for educational purposes only. It is
not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice of a health care provider. Proper
diagnosis & treatment for a patient may vary depending on individual circumstances. All
patients are encouraged to consult with their physician regarding any and all medical conditions.
What is urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the accidental release of urine. This leakage often
occurs when you cough, laugh, sneeze, or have sudden urges to go to the bathroom and can't get there
in time. Incontinence is not a disease but a symptom of a problem with the lower urinary tract, and it
is very common, especially among older adults. Typically, urinary incontinence does not cause major
health problems, but it can be embarrassing and can affect a woman's self-esteem and confidence.
Types of urinary incontinence in women:
("Urinary Incontinence in Women." WebMD. <http://www.webmd.com/hw/female_incontinence/hw220316.asp>.)
- Stress incontinence occurs when you sneeze, cough, laugh, jog, or do other activities that put
pressure on your bladder. It is the most common type of urinary incontinence in women.
- Urge incontinence, also called overactive bladder, occurs when the sensation to urinate is so
strong that you cannot reach the toilet in time, even when your bladder contains only a small
amount of urine. Conversely, other women may have no warning before they accidentally leak urine,
and in some women, drinking water or hearing or putting their hands under running water causes
- Mixed incontinence is a combination of different types of incontinence, usually stress and urge
incontinence. Stress and urge incontinence often occur together in older women.
Talk to one of our doctors or midwives for more information, including causes of incontinence and what can be done about it.