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Urinary incontinence is a condition in which someone doesn’t have adequate control over their bladder and urine leaks out. Severity ranges from occasionally leaking urine when you cough or sneeze to having an urge to urinate that's so sudden and strong you can’t get to a toilet in time.


Many people experience occasional, minor leakage. Others may lose small to moderate amounts of urine more frequently. Types of urinary incontinence include:

  • Stress incontinence – urine leaks when pressure is exerted on the bladder by coughing, laughing, exercising or heavy lifting
  • Urge incontinence – sudden, intense urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of control. This may be caused by minor condition, such as infection, or something more severe like Parkinson’s disease or prior strokes
  • Overflow incontinence – frequent or constant dribbling due to a bladder that doesn’t empty completely
  • Functional incontinence – a physical or mental impairment prevents someone from making it to the toilet on time
  • Mixed incontinence – more than one type of incontinence is experienced (most often stress and urge)

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your risk of developing urinary incontinence include:

  • Gender – women are more likely to have urinary incontinence
  • Age
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Family history

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