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.

Why Choose Ohio State?

At Ohio State, you come first. Our physicians, who specialize in treating a variety of urologic conditions specific to women, are sensitive to your problems. They always take the time to listen, answer questions, and seek your input to make sure your personal goals are considered in the creation of your personalized treatment plan.

Types of Urinary Incontinence

When you leak urine, the condition is called incontinence. The two most common types of urinary incontinence have a variety of causes but are highly treatable.

  1. Urge incontinence: Often referred to as “overactive bladder,” this condition is characterized by leaking when you feel the urge to urinate but are unable to get to the bathroom in time.

    • It happens in women two times more often than in men.
    • 24 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 44 experience overactive bladder, but it can happen at any age.
    • Symptoms include a sudden urge to urinate and urinating frequently (more than 20 times per day).
    • Women often experience this following childbirth or as a result of participation in high impact physical activities.

  2. Stress incontinence: This type of incontinence is leaking when you cough, sneeze, change positions or lift a heavy object. This is often a result of childbirth and is caused by weakening of the muscles around the bladder and urethra.

Cause of Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence can be caused by a variety of different factors and is different for each woman. Some common causes of urinary incontinence include:

  • Childbirth
  • Chronic constipation
  • Decrease in estrogen after menopause
  • Excessive coughing
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Obesity

Treatment Options

Don’t let incontinence slow down your social calendar, sexual activity or travel plans. Many options are available to treat incontinence and help you enjoy the activities of life worry-free, including:

  • Kegel exercises
  • Medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Prescription medication to prevent or minimize bladder spasms
  • Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles
  • Various surgical options may be available to help reduce or prevent leaking
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