Urge to Urinate
There are different types of urine incontinence. Two common types are urge incontinence and stress incontinence. Both conditions affect a person’s quality of life. While causes are different, treatments are similar. It’s possible to have “mixed incontinence”, where you experience a combination of both urge incontinence and stress incontinence symptoms.
What is the urge to urinate?
Urge incontinence is the sudden urge to urinate followed by urinary leakage. This condition causes abnormal frequency of urination. The need to urinate can occur abruptly. It feels overwhelming and can be difficult to control. This can result in the unintentional leaking of pee from the bladder in small or large volumes.
Urge incontinence is sometimes related to overactive bladder syndrome. Both are bladder control issues that involve the urgency feeling and higher frequency of urination. However, overactive bladder syndrome is a neurological and/or nervous system issue. People with an overactive bladder feel an urge to urinate but do not necessarily leak urine.
What causes the urge to pee frequently?
Urge incontinence relates to issues with the muscles surrounding the bladder. Urine flows out of your bladder through a tube called the urethra. Muscles surrounding the bladder contract and release to control urine flow. When the muscles contract too strongly, urine can overpower the urethral sphincter and flow out. There are various potential causes for these abnormal muscle contractions. Medical conditions that irritate the bladder can increase likeliness of urge incontinence (e.g., urinary tract infection (UTI) or constipation). Neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, can also cause urge incontinence.
How to control the urge to urinate
There are treatments available to address urge incontinence. Basic lifestyle changes can help. For example, limiting certain fluids (e.g., alcohol or coffee), treating constipation, or losing weight. There are also bladder training techniques. These involve scheduling bathroom visits and keeping a bathroom diary. In extreme cases, medication or surgery may be required. Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and can help to control or suppress the urge to urinate. Doing a set of pelvic floor muscle contractions can trigger the bladder to temporarily relax. Breath work and relaxation techniques can also help. These helpful skills give those with urge incontinence extra time to get to the restroom before leakage occurs.