Urinary Incontinence is No Laughing Matter

A sudden sneeze or laughter can cause it to happen.   25 million people in the U.S., 25% of men and 75% of women have it.  What can it be?  Urinary incontinence or loss of bladder control. Too often, people will wait years before seeing a health care provider for incontinence.  But with diagnosis and treatment, urinary incontinence can be controlled and you can get back to doing what you love.

What is Urinary Incontinence?

Essentially, urinary incontinence is loss of bladder control.  Although it is most common in adults over 50, sometimes younger people, like women who have just given birth, may experience leakage. Each individual’s experience is different; some may experience occasional leakage, while others have uncontrolled wetting. The problem can be embarrassing causing people to avoid social situations, family and friends.


Symptoms may vary for each individual, but in general if you experience one of more of the following symptoms, talk to your doctor.

  • Leaking urine on a daily basis.
  • Feeling the need to go urgently or suddenly.
  • You leak urine occasionally when you laugh, sneeze or try to lift an object.
  • You are treating the issue with Kegel or bladder training.

Types of Incontinence

If you think you may have urinary incontinence a visit to your doctor is the first step.   Your provider will diagnose the type of incontinence you may have and offer treatment options. According to the American Academy of Family Practice1, there are five types of urinary incontinence:

  • Stress incontinence
    • Occurs most often in women
    • When pressure on the lower stomach (laughing, coughing or lifting) causes urine to leak.
    • May be caused by a weakened pelvic muscle due to pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Urge incontinence
    • The need to “go” urgently comes on suddenly
    • Often you have only a few seconds or minutes to get to a restroom
    • Common in elderly individuals who may suffer from overactive bladder or an infection
  • Overflow incontinence
    • Often occurs in men
    • Leakage occurs in small amounts
    • Can be caused by a blockage in urine flow due to enlarged prostate or tumor.
    • Diabetes and certain medications may also cause this type of incontinence
  • Functional incontinence
    • Normal urinary function but the individual has other medical or mobility issues which cause a delay in reaching a restroom in time.
  • Mixed incontinence
    • More than one type of incontinence present in an individual


There are several treatments for urinary incontinence.  You and your physician will work together to find the best option for your type of incontinence and lifestyle.  Your options may include one or more of the following:

  • Bladder training and/or exercises
  • Medication
  • Surgery

Download ADC’s Urinary Incontinence flyer (PDF) and share with friends or family.  You don’t have to endure loss of bladder control, talk to your internist, family practitioner, ob/gyn or urologist for more information.  

Urinary Incontinence flyer