Don’t let incontinence slow down your social calendar, sexual activity or travel plans. Symptoms include sudden, frequent urges, and leaking when coughing, sneezing or changing positions. Urinary incontinence happens twice as often in women than men and is caused by a variety of different factors, including childbirth, chronic constipation, obesity and decrease in estrogen after menopause.

Although the condition is different for each woman, the two most common types of urinary incontinence are urge incontinence and stress incontinence — and both are highly treatable here at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. We offer many treatment options, including physical therapy, medication and surgery to help you enjoy life and your favorite activities worry-free.

Types of urinary incontinence

Incontinence can be embarrassing and can get in the way of enjoying your life to the fullest. Fortunately, urinary incontinence is manageable.
  • Urge incontinence: This condition is characterized by leaking when you feel the urge to urinate but are unable to get to the bathroom in time.
  • Stress incontinence: This type of incontinence is leaking with activities like coughing, laughing, sneezing or exercise.
  • Overactive bladder: This generally is characterized by the frequent and urgent need to go to the bathroom, often times in the middle of the night.

Urinary Incontinence Symptoms

  • Mild leaking to uncontrollable wetting
  • Strong urge to go to the bathroom with inability to make it to the bathroom in time
  • Leaking when you sneeze, cough, etc.
  • Having to use the bathroom frequently


Our clinical team will perform a physical exam and get a thorough understanding of your health history. You may be asked to keep a diary of your fluid intake and urinary habits.

You may require additional testing like a cystoscopy or an in-office bladder test to better understand your condition.

Treatment options

  • Pelvic floor exercises
  • Physical therapy
  • Prescription medication to prevent or minimize bladder overactivity
  • In-office Botox
  • Pessary (a small silicone device that can be inserted and removed as needed)
  • Minimally invasive or vaginal surgery, including non-mesh surgical options
  • Sacral neuromodulation
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