If you leak urine unintentionally, you have urinary incontinence. There are 2 types of urinary incontinence – stress and urge incontinence.
If you leak urine when you laugh, cough, sneeze, or strain your abdominal muscles, you have “stress” incontinence. The amount of urine loss is usually small, but noticeable. Occasionally it requires the use of pads.
Urge incontinence occurs when you leak urine uncontrollably with only the slightest “urge” to urinate. The urge hits but you leak urine before you can get to the bathroom. It seems like your bladder has a “mind of its own”. Typically this problem results in the loss of large amounts of urine at unpredictable times.
“Mixed” incontinence is a combination of stress and urge incontinence in the same patient and is the most common way for urinary incontinence to present. You may leak small amounts of urine with a cough or sneeze and later leak a large amount of urine with only the slightest urge urinate.
It is critical to understand which type of incontinence you are experiencing since the treatment is significantly different for each one. An inaccurate diagnosis can lead to a treatment regimen that may actually worsen your symptoms.