Frequently Asked Questions

What are the types of Urinary Incontinence?

It is important to know what type of urinary incontinence you have?

There are 4 types of established urinary incontinence that are most common in women:

Stress urinary incontinence: the unintentional release or leakage of urine during sudden movements such as coughing, sneezing, laughing and exercising.

Urge Incontinence: the sudden, intense urge to urinate, followed by a loss of urine. You may feel like you never get to the bathroom fast enough, you may wake several times a night with the strong urge to urinate.

Mixed Incontinence: occurs when women have symptoms of both stress and urge incontinence.

Overflow Incontinence: occurs when the bladder doesn’t completely empty. It may be caused by dysfunctional nerves or a blockage in the urethra that prevents the flow of urine.

The right treatment for you will depend on the type of urinary incontinence that you have. This discussion deals with stress urinary incontinence, the most common type in women. It affects women of all ages – and it’s very treatable.

What is stress urinary incontinence?

Stress urinary incontinence, or SUI, is the sudden, unintentional release of urine during normal, everyday activities. You may have SUI if you lose urine when you:
  • Cough, sneeze or laugh
  • Walk, exercise or lift something
  • Get up from a seated or lying position
You may also go to the bathroom frequently during the day to avoid accidents.

If you are experiencing sudden urine loss, it means your urethra (the tube from the bladder through which urine exits the body) does not stay closed until it’s time to urinate.

Any movement that puts pressure on the bladder (such as sneezing or running) may casue the urethra to lose its seal and allows urine to escape.

Could I have stress urinary incontinence?

Initially at least, you are the person who knows better than anyone whether urinary incontinence is a problem for you. Perhaps its something you’ve been living with for a while, and now you’re frustrated at how incontinence complicates your life and limits the things you feel comfortable doing. Perhaps its something that just started to bother you – you’ve just had a baby or notice that bladder control is becoming a problem at the same time you are coping with other major changes in your life, such as menopause.

If you are experiencing sudden urine loss, take a moment to ask yourself:

  • Do you experience unplanned, sudden urine loss while laughing, sneezing, coughing or exercising?
  • Do you wear pads to absorb urine leakage?
  • Do you limit or avoid any activities to prevent leakage?
  • When planning a trip, outing or event, does the availability of restroom facilities affect your decision?
If you answered “yes” to even one of these questions, take the next step and talk with your doctor or other healthcare professional.

Talking about it is the most important thing you can do to begin taking control. But for many women, it is often the most difficult step. It shouldn’t be embarrassing – incontinence is a medical condition that be treated, after all – but its easy to feel uncomfortable.

Consider asking you healthcare professional the following questions to help make that conversation a bit easier:
  • What type of incontinence do I have?
  • What treatments are available to help regain bladder control? Which one is the best for me?
  • Can you take care of this problem, or can you refer me to a doctor specializing in female urinary incontinence?

How can stress urinary incontinence be diagnosed?

SUI can often be diagnosed based on the symptoms you describe to your doctor and a careful pelvic exam focused on your pelvic support. Your doctor may ask you to cough with a full bladder to observe leakage. Often your doctor will want to obtain special tests (urodynamics) to evaluate your bladder and urethral function. These tests usually involve placing a small tube called a catheter into the bladder, which can measure bladder and urethral activity.

What treatments are available to me?

Stress urinary incontinence is very treatable at any age. But not all approaches work for every person or for everyt type of incontinence. For SUI, your physician may suggest one or more of the following:

Behavioral/Muscle Therapy: For women with SUI, the first line of therapy is often Kegel exercises to help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Depending on the severity of your condition, however, Kegels may not bring sufficient relief. Other therapies that may be used alone or in combination with Kegel exercises include:

Biofeedback – a process that helps you gain control over bodily functions by making you more aware of them

Electrical stimulation – which aids pelvic floor exercises by isolating the muscles involved.

Medication: Some types of urinary incontinence can be treated with medications. There is currently no medication approved to treat SUI in the US.

Today’s minimally invasive procedures offer safe and effective ways to treat urine leakage.

GYNECARE TVT is an innovative, minimally invasive 30-minute, outpatient treatment with proven results for the effective treatment of stress urinary incontinence.


Stress Urinary Incontinence occurs when weak pelvic muscles can’t hold the bladder or urethra in place and pressure, such as coughing, laughing or sneezing, leads to leaking. It’s a condition that will affect 1 in 3 women during her lifetime.

  • SUI is the most common form of urinary incontinence in women.
  • SUI affects approximately one-third of adult women in the United States.
  • Only 1 in 12 women seek treatment for SUI.
  • About 30% of women will develop SUI within 5 years of a vaginal delivery.
  • Most women who suffer from SUI wait anywhere from 3-10 years before talking to a doctor about symptoms.
  • Women buy more sanitary pads for incontinence than menstruation.
  • Stress urinary incontinence can have serious psychological, social, emotional and financial consequences as women with SUI limit their activities for fear of having an accident.

What causes SUI?

The 2 basic underlying causes of SUI are weak pelvic muscles that support the bladder and urethra or abnormalities of the urethral sphincter.

What are the risk factors for SUI?

Common risk factors for SUI in women include pregnancy and childbirth, previous pelvic or vaginal surgery, high-impact physical activity, menopause, and anatomic or neurologic abnormalities and advancing age. Smoking and chronic conditions such as respiratory aliments, obesity, constipation and chronic coughing also predispose women in SUI.

What treatment options are available for SUI?

SUI can be treated through behavioral interventions such as pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegels) or biofeedback and lifestyle changes such as limiting intake of certain beverages.

Surgical interventions, which can include sling procedures, anterior repair and the injection of bulking, can be used for moderate to severe SUI if nonsurgical treatments prove ineffective.

Meet the Doctor

dr. kamal dutta
Dr. Kamal Dutta practices in Hackensack University Medical Center and at Ruby General Hospital, India where he takes care of many international patients.Read more...

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