The Difference Between Urge Urinary Incontinence and Stress Urinary Incontinence

Don't let leakage of urine stop you from doing what you enjoy.It happened. You had to go to the bathroom very badly, and then you sneezed and wet your pants. You are not alone! Urinary incontinence is a common issue that women of all ages experience, and it is one of the primary topics we deal with in our clinic.

Oftentimes women stop exercising, playing with their kids or grandkids, going on trips, or even leaving the house because of the fear of leaking urine. If you fit into this category and leakage of urine is interrupting your lifestyle or stopping you from doing what you enjoy, it should come as a relief to know there are treatments available.

Event: Urinary Incontinence While Exercising

Join Dr. Matthew A. Barker as he discusses urinary incontinence while exercising and how it can be treated. The event is from 6–7 p.m. on June 16 at the Prairie Center on the Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center campus, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Types of Urinary Incontinence

Treatment depends on the type of urinary incontinence. There are three main types:   

  • Urge urinary incontinence: Leakage of urine that occurs when you get a strong urge to urinate and start leaking urine on the way to the toilet
  • Stress urinary incontinence: Leakage that occurs when you laugh, cough, sneeze, exercise or lift things
  • Mixed urinary incontinence: When you experience both urge and stress incontinence

Causes of Urinary Incontinence

Whether you are wondering what happened to cause you to leak urine or how to prevent urinary incontinence, it is important to be aware of things that cause incontinence, such as:

  • Pelvic floor muscles stretched by pregnancy and childbirth
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Constipation
  • Overactive bladder
  • Weakened sphincter that normally helps to keep urine in the bladder
  • Neurologic diseases that disrupt the nerve pathways from the bladder to the brain
  • Being overweight

Differences in Treatment for Urge and Stress Urinary Incontinence

The type of urinary incontinence that you have is important because the treatments vary between them.

Urge urinary incontinence is treated with behavioral changes, such as cutting down on coffee, tea, soda and alcohol; voiding on a timed schedule; medications; or considering more invasive procedures.

Stress urinary incontinence is treated with pelvic floor muscle strengthening through Kegel exercises and physical therapy, as well as surgical corrections.

Urinary incontinence is a very frustrating issue for women of all ages, but it doesn’t have to come with age. There are treatments for urinary incontinence, so do not be afraid to talk to your doctor about this issue and see what you can do to get back in control of your bladder.

By Kimberly Dewing and Leah Mergen

PA-C at Avera Medical Group Urogynecology

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