About urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence is common and affects twice as many women as men due to how pregnancy, childbirth and the menopause impacts on the bladder and urinary organs. Specifically when the Urethra muscles, which tighten and push urine through the urethra, relax without warning or don’t work the way they should, urine can leak out. The condition can range from an occasional leak when laughing, coughing, exercising or sneezing to complete inability to control the bladder.

Women often feel embarrassed by urinary incontinence and, unwilling to discuss their condition, suffer in silence. However the condition can be managed or treated and sometimes cured. The first step in establishing the best treatment for your urinary incontinence condition is to talk to your doctor or a continence professional about your symptoms.


How do I know I have urinary incontinence?

If you suffer unwanted urine leakage, you have urinary incontinence, but there are varying symptoms that include:

  • Sudden, uncontrollable urge to urinate
  • Leaking urine during exercise, sneezing, or coughing
  • Frequent urination
  • Constant dribbling
  • Inability to empty the bladder
  • Bedwetting during sleep
  • Loss of bladder control during intercourse


What are the four types of urinary incontinence?

Typically the 4 general types of urinary incontinence are classified as: .

Stress incontinence

The most common type of urinary incontinence, Stress Incontinence occurs when strain on the bladder is triggered by activities such as jumping, bending over, lifting, exercise and even coughing or sneezing . And, if you have weakened pelvic floor muscles, this strain can cause urine leakage to varying degrees.

Overflow incontinence

More common in men and often associated with prostate problems or surgery, overflow incontinence is when the body makes more urine than the bladder can retain. It also occurs if the bladder is full and can’t empty, causing leakage. This condition causes frequent urinating in small amounts and constant dribbling.

Overactive bladder

More commonly known as “urge incontinence,” this condition occurs when the bladder muscles contract involuntarily and stimulate a need to urinate even if the bladder is empty. This overwhelming urge to urinate immediately may cause unwanted urine leakage and is otherwise distressing for sufferers.

Urgency incontinence can also be caused by physical problems like spinal or brain damage and bladder infection.

Functional incontinence

This condition occurs when diseases or disabilities like arthritis or dementia make it difficult to reach a toilet, causing accidents.


What causes urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is typically caused by the following conditions:

  • Childbirth
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Weak pelvic floor muscles
  • Urinary tract or vaginal infection
  • Overactive bladder muscles
  • Obesity
  • Nerve damage caused by diabetes or neurological disease like Parkinson’s
  • Enlarged of infected prostate
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Surgery, like prostatectomy and hysterectomy

How will my GP or Urinary Specialist assess me for urinary incontinence?

One or more of the following tests will typically be performed

  • Urine or blood tests
  • Ultrasound to check for problems in the pelvis or urinary organs; kidneys, bladder, and urethra.
  • Urodynamic tests where your GP or consultant fills your bladder with water through a thin tube and then checks how much fluid and pressure your bladder holds before it leaks.
  • Bladder stress test where you’ll be asked to cough, sneeze, or bend down to assess if your bladder leaks.
  • Cystoscopy where a camera is inserted into your urethra to check the bladder and urethra for damaged tissue.

Treatments for urinary incontinence

Your doctor may recommend the following natural treatments for reducing urinary incontinence:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Weight loss
  • Reduced consumption of diuretics like caffeine
  • Limited heavy lifting
  • Pelvic floor exercises like Kegels
  • Scheduling urination
  • Absorbent hygiene products

Your doctor may also recommend these medical or invasive options for more severe cases of incontinence:

  • Medication to strengthen bladder or urethra muscles
  • Medical devices like a catheter or a vaginal pessary
  • Collagen insertion to thicken tissues around your bladder and urethra. Also known as urethral bulking
  • Botox injections in the bladder to relax muscles
  • Nerve stimulation to help strengthen control
  • Surgery

Stress Urinary Incontinence treatments at The Women’s Clinic

The Women’s Clinic is a women-led private clinic specialising in women’s intimate wellness and offering advanced treatments for stress and urgency urinary incontinence. We now have clinics offering these treatments in Glasgow, Yorkshire, Northern Ireland and London.

We are the first UK clinic offering the fast acting and effective Urolon treatment, which can prevent urinary incontinence for up to two years from just one fast and non surgical procedure. Learn more about Urolon

We also treat urge and stress urinary incontinence with the advanced CO2RE Intima laser, which restores support to the bladder and urethra. Learn more about CO2RE Intima