There are several types of urinary incontinence or leakage that women experience. The two main types are stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
However, a majority of women have mixed incontinence which is a combination of both types of incontinence. It can be an embarrassing problem for patients, and many will wait years for evaluation and treatment. We encourage patients to be seen sooner as incontinence is a common condition and there are many treatment options.
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI)
Stress incontinence is loss of urine with increase abdominal or pelvic pressure. Most women will notice leakage with cough, sneeze, laugh, jump or exercise. SUI is caused by weakness of the urinary sphincter or pelvic floor muscles. The increased abdominal pressure causes the urethra to slip through the hammock of the pelvic floor and allows urine to leak.
Urge urinary incontinence (UUI)
Urge incontinence is loss of urine with involuntary squeeze of the bladder muscle. Most women will notice leakage when they are on their way to the bathroom or after an urge to urinate. UUI is caused by a spasm of the bladder that overwhelms the ability of the pelvic floor / urinary sphincter to hold urine.