Urge Incontinence


Urinary leakage, also called urinary incontinence (UI), is a common problem for people of all ages.

Urinary leakage is distressing. The condition has many causes and comes in different forms. Urge leakage is the involuntary leakage of urine for no apparent reason. Individuals who experience urge leakage experience a sudden urge to urinate and release urine before reaching a bathroom. Urge leakage occurs in men and women of all ages. The causes of urge leakage are wide ranging, sometimes making diagnosis difficult.

Changes in lifestyle and special training have been somewhat successful and there are medications available for those who experience urge leakage.

Urge leakage can be made worse in several ways:

  • Excess consumption of alcohol
  • Drinking too much liquid in a short period of time
  • Consumption of caffeine
  • An enlarged prostate gland in men
  • Kidney stones
  • Brain disorders and other physiological conditions

Symptoms of Urge Urinary Leakage

People who experience this form of incontinence often experience no symptoms until urine is released involuntarily. However, many people experience a sudden, immediate urge to urinate at inappropriate or inconvenient times.

Evaluation and Treatment

If you experience the sudden urge to urinate, or if you experience the unexplained release of urine, make an appointment to see a urologist. A complete history and physical examination will be conducted followed by a voiding diary which is completed at home. This simple diary helps identify when, how much, and in what circumstances urinary leakage occurs. Other tests that help identify the cause of leakage include a urine culture, bladder ultrasound, and possibly urodynamic testing. Urodynamic testing is a complete evaluation of how the bladder stores and empties urine and is obtained in the office setting.

Based on the information obtained from the voiding diary and urinary testing, treatment will be initiated and may include the following:

  • Behavioral modification including timed voiding and double voiding
  • Medications
  • Surgery

Urinary leakage is often distressing and may decrease quality of life. If you are experiencing urinary leakage, don’t wait to seek help.