Female Urinary Incontinence: Everything You Need to Know

More than 25million adult Americans experience temporary or chronic urinary incontinence. However, the condition is more common in women and can occur at any age. Factors like menopause, pregnancy, and childbirth are more likely to contribute to female urinal incontinence.

Other aspects, including weak urinary bladder muscles, nerve damage, or overactive bladder muscles, also contribute to urinary incontinence in women. Thankfully female incontinence treatment is possible through medication, surgery, nerve stimulation, and behavioral therapies. Here is more about female urinary incontinence.

What is urine incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is the unintentional or accidental loss of urine. It can affect anyone, but it is more common in women over the age of 50years. It can be temporary resulting from an underlying medical condition and can range from slight losses of urine to frequent and severe wetting.

Symptoms of female incontinence

Some women accidentally lose a few drops of urine when coughing or running. Others feel a strong urge to urinate before losing large amounts of urine. The symptoms of urinary incontinence are debilitating and embarrassing and can even cause emotional problems.

Some women avoid enjoying activities with their families and friends due to the risk of public embarrassment. It can also occur during sexual activity leading to emotional stress. Other symptoms include a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying, a constant sense of wetness even without the sensation of urine leakage, urine leakage that prevents exercise and other activities.

What causes female incontinence?

It may be caused by specific changes in body functioning, which may result from the use of certain medications or an illness. At times it is the first and only symptom of a urinary tract infection in women. Also, many women are likely to develop urinary incontinence after pregnancy, childbirth, or menopause due to hormonal changes.

Generally, incontinence results from problems with the muscles and nerves that hold or release urine. Normally, the muscles in the wall of the bladder contract to force urine out of the bladder into the urethra during normal urination. Female incontinence occurs when the bladder muscles contract suddenly or the sphincter muscles surrounding the urethra are not powerful enough to hold back the urine.

Consequently, the urine may escape with less pressure than usual, especially if the muscles are damaged, causing a change in the bladder position. Obesity which is linked to abdominal pressure, can worsen incontinence.

Types of female incontinence in a nutshell

There are different kinds of female urinary incontinence.

  • Urgency incontinence occurs due to the inability to hold the urine enough until one gets to a restroom. It is associated with frequent urges to urinate or a sudden strong urge to urinate.
  • Stress incontinence is urine leakage during exercises, sneezing, laughing, coughing, lifting heavy objects, or performing other body activities that pressure the bladder.
  • Functional incontinence happens with the inability to reach a restroom due to physical restrictions like an injury or disability.
  • Overflow incontinence is urine leakage that happens when the quantity of urine produced surpasses the bladder’s capacity to hold it.


You should visit a gynecologist as early as possible when you experience signs of urinary incontinence.