You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. You will be asked how often you empty your bladder and patterns of urine leakage. A physical exam will be done to look for any physical causes, such as blockages or nerve problems. You may be referred to a specialist.
Your bodily fluids will be tested. This can be done with:
The flow of your urine will be assessed. This can be done with:
Your bodily structures may need to be viewed. This can be done with:
Treatments are based on the cause of the urinary incontinence.
Temporary incontinence may be relieved by managing the conditions associated with the incontinence.
Weight loss may help reduce the number of episodes due to stress or urge incontinence in people who are overweight or obese. Talk to your doctor about a
weight loss program
that is right for you.
Initial treatment relies on behavior changes and strengthening pelvic floor muscles. Behavior changes include:
Decreasing caffeine—caffeine has been linked to worsening of urinary incontinence
Planning frequent bathroom trips throughout the day to prevent accidents
Methods to increase strength in the pelvic floor muscles include:
—focuses on muscles that hold the bladder in place and those that control urine flow
Painless electrical stimulation—may strengthen the muscles more quickly; helpful for stress incontinence
Pelvic floor exercises using cone-shaped weights that are placed in the vagina
Biofeedback—a device signals how strong you are at contracting your muscles during exercise
Surgical procedures may be done for incontinence that is not responding to these treatments. Surgical options include:
Placement of strips of material or sutures to support structures in the area and relieve pressure on the urethra. There are several different types of surgery, but a common option, called a
urethral suspension, uses mesh to help support the urethra.
Collagen injection into the wall of the urethra. This substance bulks up the wall of the urethra to help stop leaks.
Initial treatment depends on behavior changes and strengthening pelvic floor muscles. Behavior changes include:
Drinking less fluid throughout the day
Avoiding caffeine and alcohol
Avoiding drinking at bedtime
Keeping a log of your urination schedule and accidents.
Kegel exercises can help strengthen pelvic floor muscles and relieve some symptoms.
Medications may be recommended. Anticholinergics are the most common medication. They can relax the muscles of the bladder. Other medications may be used in combination to help manage symptoms, such as
Nerve stimulation may be used if urge incontinence does not respond to behavior modification or medication. A device will send pulses to the nerves that control the bladder. This has been shown to help stimulate bladder control. In some cases, the device is implanted in the back.
Bladder control problems in women (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-women. Updated July 2016. Accessed December 19, 2017.
Overactive bladder (OAB). Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated March 2013. Accessed December 19, 2017.
Sobhgol SS, Charandabee SM. Related factors of urge, stress, mixed urinary incontinence, and overactive bladder in reproductive age women in Tabriz, Iran: a cross-sectional study.
Int Urogynecol J Pelvic Floor Dys Function.
Urinary incontinence. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated March 2013. Accessed December 19, 2017.
Urinary incontinence. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians. Available at:
https://familydoctor.org/condition/urinary-incontinence. Updated April 2014. Accessed December 19, 2017.
3/5/2010 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance
: Vardy MD, Mitcheson HD, Samuels TA, et al. Effects of solifenacin on overactive bladder symptoms, symptom bother and other patient-reported outcomes: results from VIBRANT—a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Int J Clin Pract.