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  Sanford Downtown Walk-in Clinic
Serving all ages
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  Sanford North Walk-in Clinic
Serving all ages
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  Sanford Children's Walk-in Clinic
Serving children
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  Sanford Health Walk-in Clinic
Serving all ages
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  Sanford Health Walk-in Clinic
Serving all ages
Location and hours »

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Sanford North Clinic

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Why am I having problems leaking urine?

Prashanthi Y'Chili, MD
Y'Chili, MD

You’re not alone. More than 33 million Americans, or 1 in 6 adults, experience overactive bladder or urinary incontinence. What happens is that your bladder muscle squeezes too often; something as simple as coughing or sneezing may cause you to leak or release urine. It is a treatable condition, but because many people are uncomfortable talking to their physicians about it, they do not get help.

Are there different types of incontinence and what causes it?

Yes. There are five types of urinary incontinence:
  • Stress incontinence
    Stress incontinence is when urine leaks because of sudden pressure on your lower stomach muscles, such as when you cough, laugh, lift something or exercise. Stress incontinence usually occurs when the pelvic muscles are weakened, for example by childbirth or surgery. Stress incontinence is common in women.
  • Urge incontinence
    This occurs when the need to urinate comes on very suddenly, often before you can get to a toilet. Your body may only give you a warning of a few seconds to minutes before you urinate. Urge incontinence is most common in the elderly and may be a sign of a urinary tract infection.
  • Overflow incontinence
    This type of incontinence is the uncontrollable leakage of small amounts of urine. An overfilled bladder is the cause. You may feel like you can't empty your bladder all the way and you may strain when urinating. This often occurs in men and can be caused by something blocking the urinary flow, such as an enlarged prostate gland or tumor. Diabetes or certain medicines may also cause the problem.
  • Functional incontinence
    This type occurs when you have normal urine control but have trouble getting to the bathroom in time. You may not be able to get to the bathroom because of arthritis or other diseases that make it hard to move around.
  • Mixed incontinence
    This type involves more than one of the types of incontinence listed above.

What should I do?

See your primary care doctor for an evaluation. Treatment depends on what is causing the problem and what type of incontinence you have. If your urinary incontinence is caused by a medical problem, the incontinence will go away when the problem is treated. Kegel exercises and bladder training help some types of incontinence through strengthening the pelvic muscles. Medicine and surgery are other options.

Dr. Prashanthi Y’Chili is a board-certified family medicine doctor at Sanford North Clinic. She completed her medical degree at Gulbarga University in Kanataka, India, and completed an internship at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa., and a residency at Louisiana State University in New Orleans.


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