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Urinary incontinence

Learn about common types of urinary incontinence and find out how treatment may help.

What is urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence, also known as bladder leakage, is the loss of bladder control or the involuntary loss of urine. This can turn a laughing fit or fun workout into a stressful and potentially uncomfortable situation. Here’s what you need to know about the three common types of urinary incontinence:

Three common types of urinary incontinence

Woman covering a sneeze.

Stress urinary incontinence

Stress urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine during physical activities, such as laughing, jumping, sneezing, or lifting heavy objects. It occurs when the muscles that support the urethra are weakened or damaged. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including: childbirth, trauma, and hormone changes.

Woman entering a public restroom.

Urge urinary incontinence

Urge urinary incontinence is the unintended loss of urine due to an involuntary bladder contraction. Patients often describe urge urinary incontinence as needing to go even if they just went. It’s often associated with an overactive bladder.

Woman working out on fitness equipment.

Mixed urinary incontinence

Mixed urinary incontinence is involuntary bladder leakage associated with a combination of both urge and stress urinary incontinence.

If you’re experiencing common symptoms of urinary incontinence, talk to your doctor today.

Learn more about symptoms and diagnosis

Who experiences urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence affects more people than you might think. And it’s increasingly common among women.1 The important thing to remember is you’re not alone. There are millions of women out there just like you who experience some form of bladder leakage. But you don’t have to be one of them. Talk to your doctor today.

1 in 2

1 in 2 adult women has urinary incontinence2

Depending on the severity, urinary incontinence can be treated several ways. Talk with your doctor to determine which treatment is right for you.

Learn more about treatments

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Not sure if you have urinary incontinence?

Take this short quiz to find out if you might have urinary incontinence and share your results with your physician.

Patient stories

Learn how urinary incontinence affected Renay and Stephanie and how treatment helped them regain control of their lives after bladder leakage.

“Instead of participating in the sports, I became the photographer.”

Renay shares how wearing pads and planning her trips around restrooms helped her cope with the symptoms of urinary incontinence, until she found a treatment option that was right for her.

“Going forward I have this peace of mind.”

Stephanie recalls how the symptoms of urinary incontinence interfered with “the everyday stuff” she loved, including exercise, and shares how her life has changed since seeking treatment.

Results from case studies are not necessarily predictive of results in other cases. Results in other cases may vary.

Female doctor talking to a female patient.

Ready to talk to a specialist?

There are many doctors who specialize in pelvic floor disorders, including urinary incontinence. You can search by city, state, or ZIP code to find the right one for you.


Learn more about urinary incontinence and how to talk to your doctor.

All about bladder leakage: symptoms and treatments

Did you know that fewer than 50% of women who leak urine discuss their symptoms with their health care provider?1 In this 11-minute webinar, urogynecologist Dr. Elizabeth Williams discusses the most common types of bladder leakage and treatment options.

Boston Scientific is committed to bringing more hope, more health, and more life to women around the world. Learn about Boston Scientific's commitment to women's health


  1. Aoki Y, Brown HW, Brubaker L, Cornu JN, Daly JO, Cartwright R. Urinary incontinence in women [published correction appears in Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2017 Nov 16;3:17097]. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2017;3:17042. Published 2017 Jul 6. doi:10.1038/nrdp.2017.42
  2. Patel UJ, Godecker AL, Giles DL, Brown HW. Updated prevalence of urinary incontinence in women: 2015–2018 national population-based survey data. Female Pelvic Med Reconstr Surg. 2022;28:181–187.
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