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Woman in a bathroom with her hands over her bladder experiencing urinary incontinence.

Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control and having to pee unexpectedly. It’s frustrating because it can affect your personal life, work and social life. Urinary incontinence is a problem for at least half of older women, and occurs in different forms.

Stress incontinence happens when you leak a bit while laughing, coughing, sneezing, or lifting something heavy. The muscles around the opening of the bladder get weak and it doesn’t stay closed, causing leakage of urine.

Urge incontinence is when you suddenly feel the urge to pee and race to get to the bathroom. It can be caused by the sound of running water, when sipping a drink, or with no trigger at all. Urge incontinence can be caused by spasms of the bladder muscles.

Overflow incontinence happens when you experience frequent or constant dribbling of urine because your bladder doesn’t empty completely.

Overactive bladder is a sudden and frequent urge to pee, but may not be incontinence because many women can hold it until they reach the bathroom. The problem isn’t leakage but the inconvenience of having to always stop what you’re doing to go to the bathroom.

Incontinence isn’t dangerous but it can be devastating for your self-esteem and decrease your sex life, and both can lead to higher levels of depression. The good news is that you don’t have to suffer in silence, because there are treatments that can reduce the symptoms of urinary incontinence or even eliminate it.

To diagnose the problem during an office visit, your doctor may ask you to stand and cough to determine if it’s stress incontinence. They can also conduct tests that measure muscle function or pressure in or around the bladder.

They’ll want to know about the medications you take because some can contribute to urinary incontinence. You may also be asked to keep a diary to record how much you drink and how often you pee or leak.

Whatever the cause, urinary incontinence isn’t something you have to live with, but you need to take the first step and discuss it with your OB/GYN. In the Downriver area of southeast Michigan, we have offices in Southgate and Brownstown, and it’s easy to request an appointment online.

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax