What is urinary incontinence? Urinary incontinence is a loss of bladder control that results in leakage of urine. The main types of urinary incontinence are stress, urge, and overflow incontinence. If you are looking for solutions to urinary incontinence, Pearl Women’s Center in Portland, Oregon, offers the most current procedures and treatments.

Choose the gynecology specialists at Pearl Women’s Center for support with urinary incontinence and a range of gynecologic and pelvic floor disorders. Ask a question, book online, or call our office in Portland at (503) 771-1883. We serve patients from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Northern California and Alaska.


Stress Incontinence

  • Stress incontinence occurs when the muscles and tissues around the urethra (where urine exits) do not stay closed properly when there is increased pressure (“stress”) in the abdomen, leading to urine leakage. Normally, the front wall of the vagina and muscles under the urethra provide a backboard for the urethra to squeeze closed on during activities. When there is weakening of the support of the urethra or the urethra muscle does not close well, any increases in abdominal pressure result in leakage (like stepping on a garden hose in sand). As an example, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or running can cause stress incontinence. Stress incontinence is a common reason for incontinence in women, especially those who are obese or have given birth by vaginal delivery.

Urgency Incontinence

  • In people with urgency incontinence (also called overactive bladder), there is a sudden, uncontrollable urge to urinate. You may leak urine on the way to the toilet. Common triggers of urgency incontinence include unlocking the door when returning home, going out in the cold, turning on the faucet, or washing your hands.

    Many people with urgency incontinence also have to go to the bathroom more frequently than most people during the day and/or night. “Normal” frequency is considered to be eight or fewer times per day and once at night, but this depends on how much you drink and may increase if you drink more than 64 ounces of fluid in a day. Urgency incontinence can also happen due to damage to the nerves that control the normal reflexes of the bladder. Strokes, spinal cord injuries, or other neurologic diseases such as Parkinson disease can cause a woman to lose sensation or control over their bladder.

Mixed Incontinence

  • Women with symptoms of both stress and urgency incontinence are said to have mixed incontinence.

Overflow Incontinence

  • Overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder does not empty completely, causing leakage when the bladder becomes overly full. It may result in symptoms of either stress or urgency incontinence or both.

    Management of incontinence depends on the type of incontinence a woman is experiencing—but there are options! So many women do not seek help as they are led to believe that this is something to be embarrassed by, or are they believe that this is just something that women have to manage after childbearing.

    Treatment options include and are not limited to: lifestyle modification, pelvic floor PT, bladder training, pessary support, pharmacotherapy, vaginal estrogen therapy, laser therapy, as well as surgical intervention.

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