Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment of Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine. The condition is more common for women to experience than men. Once the underlying issue for incontinence is determined, it is most often a treatable condition.

woman with urinary incontinence

Categories of Urinary Incontinence

The three primary categories of urinary incontinence are:

  • Urge incontinence: The rapid onset of the urge to urinate followed by the involuntary loss of urine. Such a condition usually comes on quickly but can be managed by some of the therapies used to treat overactive bladder (OAB)
  • Stress incontinence: The loss of urine due to coughing, sneezing, laughing and changes in position, which can be caused by damage or weakness of the urinary sphincter muscle or a loss in the integrity of the supportive ligaments holding the bladder.
  • Overflow incontinence: A condition in which urine is lost because of a buildup of urine beyond the maximum storage capacity of the bladder. In most cases, the individual suffering from such a condition either continuously loses urine and in addition has lost the sensation that their bladder is full.

What Causes Urinary Incontinence

Incontinence can be caused by:

  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • Menopause
  • Weak bladder muscles
  • Overactive bladder muscles
  • Nerve damage

Tests for Urinary Incontinence

Tests for determining the underlying factor and course of treatment for incontinence may include:

  • History and physical
  • Labs including urinalysis, urine culture, urine cytology, basic metabolic panel
  • Urodyanmics or uroflow / postvoid residual study
  • Cystoscopy
  • Pelvic examination

Treatment for Urinary Incontinence

After establishing the cause of urinary incontinence, Dr. Tay works with his patients to determine the best possible solution to manage their urinary incontinence. Treatments for urinary incontinence maybe used independently or in combination with other modalities.