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Incontinence can happen for many reasons, including urinary tract infections, vaginal infection or irritation, or constipation. Some medications can cause bladder control problems that last a short time.


Incontinence happens when the bladder muscles suddenly tighten and the sphincter muscles are not strong enough to pinch the urethra shut. This causes a sudden, strong urge to urinate that you may not be able to control. Pressure caused by laughing, sneezing, or exercising can cause you to leak urine. Urinary incontinence may also happen if there is a problem with the nerves that control the bladder muscles and urethra. Urinary incontinence can mean you leak a small amount of urine or release a lot of urine all at once.

A Common Problem

Urinary incontinence — the loss of bladder control — is a common and often embarrassing problem. While it can happen to anyone, urinary incontinence, is more common in older people, especially women. It can affect emotional, psychological and social life. Many people who have urinary incontinence are afraid to do normal daily activities. Urinary incontinence can keep people from enjoying life. But incontinence can often be stopped or controlled.

Urinary Incontinence



Medicines, which can be used to relax the bladder muscles, which help prevent bladder spasms and block nerve signals that cause urinary frequency and urgency.


Vaginal estrogen cream may help relieve urge or stress incontinence. A low dose of estrogen cream is applied directly to the vaginal walls and urethral tissue.

Medical Devices

Medical devices may also be used to manage urinary incontinence, such as a catheter that drains urine from your bladder; a urethral insert that helps prevent leakage; and a vaginal pessary ring that provides pressure to lessen leakage.


Bulking agents can be injected into the bladder neck and urethra tissues to thicken them. This helps close your bladder opening so you have less leaking.

Nerve Stimulation

Electrical nerve stimulation sends mild electric currents to the nerves around the bladder that help control urination and your bladder’s reflexes.


Surgery to support the bladder in its normal position. This may be done with a sling that is attached to the pubic bone.

Additional Resources

Learn more from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists