What Causes a Leaky Bladder?

What Causes a Leaky Bladder?

The bladder is a hollow organ in the lower abdomen. It stores urine until you are ready to empty it.

The muscles in the bladder tighten to push the urine into the tube-shaped urethra. When they relax, urine doesn't leak.

Bladder control problems happen when these muscles don't work right. Leaking occurs when they are too active or too relaxed.

Stress incontinence

Stress incontinence happens when the bladder and urethra muscles weaken, making it more likely to leak urine. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including age, obesity and certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or kidney disease.

Women are more likely to experience stress incontinence than men. Treatment options are available, and they can substantially reduce or even eliminate your leakage.

The first step is to track your symptoms. Doing so can help you understand the extent of your problem and how it affects your life.

You can also try to manage your stress incontinence with lifestyle changes, such as drinking less fluid (especially coffee and chocolate). Some people find that avoiding these foods and beverages can help reduce or eliminate their leakage.

If your symptoms don’t improve with nonsurgical treatments, we can talk about surgical options. Bladder control surgery can give more support to the urethra, reducing or eliminating your leakage. This type of procedure is often used to treat stress incontinence and urge incontinence.

Overflow incontinence

Overflow incontinence (OFI) is a common condition that occurs when urine leaks out when you’re not urinating. It can be caused by a number of factors, including a weak bladder muscle or a blockage in the urethra.

Typically, overflow incontinence happens more often in men than women. This is because the cause of OFI is often related to prostate gland problems.

In many cases, OFI can be treated with medications to shrink the prostate. In addition, doctors can use catheters to drain the bladder.

Some people may find it helpful to wear a pessary or urethral insert. These are disposable devices that absorb urine.

Overflow incontinence can be a frustrating and embarrassing problem. However, it’s important to understand that there are ways to treat this condition and improve your quality of life. It’s also essential to speak with your doctor about any unusual symptoms you experience.

Mixed incontinence

Mixed incontinence, which occurs when you have both stress and urge urinary incontinence, is a common type of incontinence. This combination of incontinence symptoms can be very challenging for a woman to deal with.

For this reason, it is important to be able to identify the symptoms that are most bothersome and start treatment for those first. A doctor can determine the exact type of incontinence you have by asking questions about your symptoms and examining your bladder.

Your doctor may ask you to keep a diary to track how much water and other fluids you drink, when you urinate, and whether you have any leaks during the day or night. This can help your doctor create a personalized treatment plan for you.

You might also be asked to wear absorbent urinary pads or adult diapers when you go out, so you can catch any dribbles that may occur. This can be especially helpful if you have overflow incontinence, which happens when your bladder can't empty completely.


Menopause is the time when a woman's ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone. This happens naturally, most often after age 45. Sometimes it can happen earlier due to surgery, such as a hysterectomy or cancer treatments like chemotherapy, or genetic reasons.

During menopause, a woman may notice changes in her mood and body. These changes can include hot flashes, sleep problems, dryness of the skin and other symptoms.

The best way to treat these symptoms is by talking to your doctor. They will know your personal history and medical conditions, so they can help you find the best treatment for you.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), such as estrogen and progesterone in a pill, cream or patch, can help reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. However, there are many non-hormonal options that can also be used to manage menopausal symptoms. Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may also relieve hot flashes and other menopausal side effects.