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Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is any leaking from the bladder that can't be controlled. The amount that is leaked differs between people. It can range from dribbling to a full clearing of the bladder.

Other symptoms differ based on the type of incontinence. They may be one or more of following:

  • Leaking caused by laughing, sneezing, lifting heavy objects, or exercise
  • A strong urge pass urine followed by loss of urine
  • Can't hold urine long enough to make it to a bathroom
  • A hard time starting to pass urine
  • Straining to empty the bladder
  • Reduced stream or dribbling
  • Feeling like the bladder isn’t fully emptied out
  • Pain when passing urine

If you have any of these, call your doctor. These are often a symptom of other health problems.


Symptoms & causes of bladder control problems (urinary incontinence). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-control-problems/symptoms-causes. Updated June 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019.

Urinary incontinence. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Urinary-Incontinence. Updated February 2016. Accessed January 17, 2019.

Urinary incontinence in adults. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/voiding-disorders/urinary-incontinence-in-adults. Updated July 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019.

Urinary incontinence in men. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900624/Urinary-incontinence-in-men. Accessed December 4, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019.

Urinary incontinence in women. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900573/Urinary-incontinence-in-women. Accessed November 14, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019.

Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD  Last Updated: 1/17/2019