Urinary incontinence is the involuntary release of urine. It can be an uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing condition. It is one of many urinary symptoms that indicate an underlying problem. Acute urinary incontinence generally occurs with sudden onset and is often reversible, while chronic incontinence tends to be associated with aging or secondary to other conditions.
An appropriate workup to investigate the common causes incontinence is required to initiate proper treatment.
The etiology of incontinence is complex and depends on the conditions with which it is associated.
- Emotional State
- Pelvic Floor Dysfunction is often due to postural imbalance of muscles and tendons in the pelvic floor. A common symptom of pelvic floor dysfunction is incontinence.
- Prescription Medications
- Medical Treatments
- Incontinence is a common outcome in medical procedures involving the prostate, bladder or other pelvic organs or muscles.
- Ultrasound and catheterization can be used to assess postvoid residual volume to rule out obstruction.
Urinary incontinence occurs when the bladder muscles are too weak or over active. Symptoms can range from mild infrequent loss of urine to severe uncontrollable wetting. Severe cases are generally associated with an deeper underlying pathology, such as stroke or injury in the pelvis or can be due to aging.
There are three seperate types of incontinence:
- Stress Urinary Incontinence refers to involuntary urination on physical exertion, sneezing, or coughing.
- Urgency Urinary Incontinence refers to involuntary urination preceded by urgency. Often the desire to pass urine arises suddenly and is difficult to control.
- Mixed Incontinence, as the name suggests, mixed incontinence refers to a condition sharing characteristics with both stress and urgency incontinence.
It is important to identify the root cause in order to effectively treat. Along with treatment of the underlying etiology, the following therapeutics are specific to urinary incontinence:
- Proper abdominal breathing can decrease the frequency and severity of incontinence.
Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND 
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