Urinary incontinence is any involuntary leakage of urine, whether it's a large amount or just a few drops.
Tens of millions of men and women in the United States experience urinary incontinence at some point in their lives. There are several possible causes of UI, explored below.
The four most common types of urinary incontinence are:
- Stress urinary incontinence = leakage with physical activity (for example – with coughing, laughing, sneezing)
- Urge urinary incontinence = leakage preceded by a sudden urge to urinate
- Mixed urinary incontinence = a mix of both stress and urge incontinence
- Overflow urinary incontinence = involves leakage due to a bladder that is too full
Urinary incontinence is common, but it can be managed and even reversed, in some cases. The expert urologic team at Weill Cornell offers personalized care and will work closely with you to determine your best treatment option. Learn more about the risks, causes, and symptoms of UI below.
Urinary Incontinence Treatment
Which treatment your urinary incontinence doctor at Weill Cornell recommends will depend on the cause of your incontinence and the severity of the condition. Treatment options include:
- Physical therapy: Kegel (pelvic floor) exercises can help strengthen the pelvic floor to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of UI.
- Medications: Anticholinergics (Ditropan, Enablex, etc.) can help calm an overactive bladder.
- Bladder training: This involves attempts at controlling when you urinate to help reduce or eliminate the symptoms of UI over time.
- Vaginal inserts and pessaries: These devices are placed inside the vagina to help support the bladder and prevent leakage.
- Behavioral therapies: These can include weight loss (to reduce pressure on organs and tissues), eating a high-fiber diet, and quitting caffeine.
- Surgery: This can include vaginal sling procedures to close the urethra and bladder neck, retropubic suspension surgery to lift a sagging bladder neck and urethra, and others.