Urinary incontinence

Loss of bladder control; Uncontrollable urination; Urination - uncontrollable; Incontinence - urinary; Overactive bladder

Urinary (or bladder) incontinence occurs when you are not able to keep urine from leaking out of your urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine out of your body from your bladder. You may leak urine from time to time. Or, you may not be able to hold any urine.

The three main types of urinary incontinence are:

  • Stress incontinence -- occurs during activities like coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercise.
  • Urge incontinence -- occurs as a result of a strong, sudden need to urinate immediately. Then the bladder squeezes and you lose urine. You don't have enough time after you feel the need to urinate to get to the bathroom before you do urinate.
  • Overflow incontinence -- occurs when the bladder does not empty and the volume of urine exceeds its capacity. This leads to dribbling.

Mixed incontinence occurs when you have both stress and urge urinary incontinence.

Bowel incontinence is when you are unable to control the passage of stool. It is not covered in this article.

Female urinary tract

The female and male urinary tracts are relatively the same except for the length of the urethra.

Male urinary tract

The male and female urinary tracts are relatively the same except for the length of the urethra.

Causes

Home Care

When to Contact a Medical Professional