If you sometimes lose bladder control, you are not alone. Millions of people, most of them women, experience loss of bladder control and involuntary loss of urine. For some, it may just be a few drops that leak while they are laughing or coughing. For others, it may be a larger problem that keeps them from fully enjoying their lives. Luckily, with the correct treatment, incontinence can usually be treated successfully.

There are several types of incontinence, including:

  • Stress incontinence – movement puts pressure on your bladder and causes it to involuntarily lose urine during activities like coughing sneezing and laughing.
  • Urgency incontinence – the loss of urine accompanied by the sudden, strong urge to urinate.
  • Overactive bladder – abnormal nerves send signals to your bladder and cause it to contract at the wrong time.
  • Functional incontinence – when physical or external obstacles, like arthritis or use of a wheelchair, prevent you from reaching a toilet in time.
  • Overflow incontinence – when your bladder doesn’t empty properly and spills over.
  • Transient incontinence – temporary leakage caused by a situation that will pass such as infection or new medication.

Urinary incontinence may be caused by a variety of conditions or as a result of certain events. This includes:

  • Childbirth
  • Chronic cough
  • Menopause
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Physical inactivity
  • Older age
  • Neurological problems

To diagnose incontinence your doctor will first conduct a thorough medical exam and get an outline of your symptoms and medical history. You may require further tests such as:

  • Urinalysis
  • Pelvic exam
  • Blood test

For many women with incontinence behavioral and lifestyle changes will effectively reduce their issue. Others may require other treatment including:

  • Bladder training
  • Pelvic floor muscle exercises
  • Medical devices
  • Surgery

Your doctor will develop a treatment plan that takes your individual needs into account and maximizes your health potential.