Stress vs. Urge Incontinence: Understanding the Differences

Stress vs. Urge Incontinence: Understanding the Differences

Do you release a little urine when you laugh, sneeze, cough, or engage in physical activity? Do you sometimes have trouble making it to the bathroom quickly enough? Is it hard for you to remember the last time you slept through the night without getting up a few times to urinate?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you may be experiencing a condition known as urinary incontinence. This is a condition in which your bladder doesn’t have proper control of your urine. Its most frequent causes include pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause, although it can have other causes as well.

Don’t be too alarmed if you experience urinary incontinence. It’s a common women’s health problem that can affect women of any age, although it’s especially likely to occur in older women.

You may not realize it, but there are a few kinds of urinary incontinence. The two most common types are stress incontinence and urge incontinence. If you aren’t sure what those names mean, the care providers here at Associates in Women’s Health in Cincinnati invite you to keep reading. 

Our specialists have extensive experience diagnosing and treating every type of incontinence, and we’re happy to educate our patients about it.

Understanding stress incontinence

Stress incontinence is the most common kind of incontinence. As its name suggests, it occurs as the result of stress on your bladder. Actions that can put pressure on your bladder include laughing, sneezing, coughing, or exercise.

Although physical stress can lead to urine leaks in stress incontinence, the real culprit behind stress incontinence is typically weak pelvic floor muscles. Other contributing factors can include excess weight, a history of pelvic surgery, and chronic constipation.

Understanding urge incontinence

Urge incontinence describes a type of incontinence that occurs when a sudden, powerful urge sends you hurrying to the bathroom to urinate. Paradoxically, this strong urge often results in the release of only a small amount of urine.

Unfortunately, women with urge incontinence – also known as overactive bladder – may find themselves heading to the restroom as often as eight or more times per day (and frequently during the night).. It is most likely to occur in older women.

Some common causes of urge incontinence include bladder inflammation, urinary blockages, nerve damage, or infection.

Although you may have either stress incontinence or urge incontinence, some women have both at the same time – a condition known as mixed incontinence.

Have your incontinence checked

Even though incontinence is common, it isn’t an inevitable part of aging. It can be successfully treated with lifestyle changes, fluid intake management, medications, bladder training, weight loss, exercises that strengthen pelvic floor muscles, bladder support devices, or surgical interventions.

If you’re experiencing incontinence symptoms or any other gynecological health concern, our providers can help. To schedule an evaluation, call our office at 513-794-1500, or request an appointment via our online portal today.

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