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What are the causes of urinary incontinence in women?

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Quick Answer

Menopause, childbirth, overactive or weak bladder muscles, pregnancy and nerve damage are among the common causes of urinary incontinence in women, according to MedicineNet. To diagnose the condition and determine its cause, doctors may perform a bladder stress test, a urinalysis, an ultrasound, a cystoscopy or urodynamic testing.

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Full Answer

Urinary incontinence in women generally occurs when the muscles that support the bladder are weak, which causes the bladder to descend and push up against the vagina, according to WebMD. When this occurs, a woman is unable to adequately tighten the muscles that close the urethra, causing a small amount of urine to leak when she laughs, sneezes, coughs or makes any sudden movement. In some cases, urinary incontinence develops due to bladder issues, emotional stress, stroke or Parkinson's disease.

Stress incontinence, urge incontinence, overflow incontinence, transient incontinence and functional incontinence are the different types of urinary incontinence that develop in women, according to MedicineNet. In order to determine which type of incontinence a woman has, doctors may also ask her to keep a bladder diary. Medications, Kegel exercises, surgery, biofeedback or catheterization may be used to treat urinary incontinence in women. A combination of these therapies may also be used for treatment.

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