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Bladder Control Problems (Urinary Incontinence)

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Definition & Facts

Bladder control problems affect the way a person holds or releases urine. A person has urinary incontinence (UI) when urine leaks accidentally. Talk with a doctor about bladder control problems right away.

Symptoms & Causes

You may have a bladder control problem if you often need to go right away or you leak urine during normal activities. See a doctor if you have any bladder problems.

Diagnosis

Doctors use medical history and a physical exam to help find the cause of bladder control problems. Even if you feel embarrassed, it’s important that you talk with your doctor.

Treatment

Childbirth, menopause, aging, and other health factors can cause or contribute to a woman’s bladder control problems. Aging and prostate problems may cause urinary incontinence in men. Treatment depends on the type of urinary incontinence you have.

Prevention

You can’t always prevent bladder control problems, but good habits—such as eating right, drinking enough fluids, and keeping a healthy weight—may help keep your bladder as healthy as possible.

Clinical Trials

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support research into many diseases and conditions.

This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings through its clearinghouses and education programs to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.

The NIDDK would like to thank Catherine Bradley, MD, MSCE, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics; Joseph A. Costa, DO, University of Florida Health, Jacksonville