Urinary incontinence is the uncontrolled leakage of urine. There are three main types of urinary incontinence, although some incontinence patients may experience more than one type:

  • Stress incontinence - the unintentional loss of urine due to increased pressure in the abdomen. Stress incontinence occurs when abdominal pressure rises due to activities like coughing, sneezing, or exercising.
  • Urge incontinence - strong and uncontrollable urges to urinate, often caused by contractions or spasms of the bladder that lead to unintentional voiding of urine.
  • Overflow incontinence - the inability to completely empty the bladder, leading to urinary retention that unintentionally leaks.

Causes of Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence causes may include one or more of the following:

  • Injury in pelvic region
  • Childbirth
  • Weakness of muscles of urinary bladder or pelvic floor
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Blockage of urethra
  • Brain or spinal cord injuries
  • Birth defects

Steps may be taken to improve urinary continence, including: avoiding constipation; smoking; or the overuse of diuretics, antidepressants and cold medications. Urinary incontinence may also be improved by practicing double-emptying of the bladder (urinate, wait a few seconds, then urinate again) and retraining the bladder by passing urine every 3 to 6 hours.

Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery

Emory Gynecology and Obstetrics offers comprehensive evaluation, management, and treatment options for female urinary and pelvic floor dysfunctions. Our physicians provide specialized expertise in the treatment of women with pelvic floor disorders.