Urinary Incontinence in Women - Cause

Stress incontinence

Stress incontinence is caused by conditions that stretch the pelvic floor muscles camera.gif, such as:

When these muscles can't support your bladder well, the bladder drops down and pushes against the vagina camera.gif. Then you can't tighten the muscles that usually close off the urethra. So urine may leak because of the extra pressure on the bladder when you cough, sneeze, laugh, exercise, or do other activities.

This is the most common type of urinary incontinence in women.

A chronic cough from smoking can make stress incontinence worse.

Urge incontinence

Urge incontinence is caused when the bladder muscle involuntarily contracts and pushes urine out of the bladder. Many times doctors don't know what causes this. But sometimes the cause is:

Overactive bladder is a kind of urge incontinence. But not everyone with overactive bladder leaks urine. For more information, see the topic Overactive Bladder.

Other types of incontinence

Less common types of urinary incontinence have other causes. These types include:

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.