Areas of Expertise


Urgency Incontinence

This condition is an uncontrollable urge to urinate resulting in leakage.

Urgency incontinence is less predictable than stress incontinence. By definition, it is frequent, sudden, and uncontrollable. A person may empty the entire bladder before reaching the bathroom.

Although some men have this form of incontinence, because of prostate surgery or other, less frequent causes, older women most commonly have the condition, usually from a hyperactive bladder. A hyperactive bladder does not wait for the brain to relax the external urethral sphincter. Rather, the bladder muscles automatically begin contracting as soon as the brain perceives that the bladder is distended (stretched by urine). People with a hyperactive bladder cannot suppress this response, even temporarily, and therefore, feel the urge to urinate more frequently than people with normal bladder function. Additionally, an image or sound of water, especially running water such as from a faucet, may trigger an urge to urinate in people with urge incontinence.


Older women are more likely to experience urge incontinence because of a hyperactive bladder. Other causes that can affect both men and women include:

  • Aging;
  • Anxiety;
  • Urinary tract infections;
  • Nerve damage as a result of injuries, diabetes, or stroke;
  • Multiple sclerosis; and
  • Parkinson’s disease.

Treatment Approach

There are various treatments which may be tried separately or combined. Bladder training: You will be asked to empty your bladder regularly after a certain length of time, perhaps one hour. This needs to be continued for some days and then increases the time by 15 or 20 minutes for a further few days. This time is increased gradually until reasonable control is achieved. Medications: can control muscle contractions, increase bladder elasticity, or encourage bladder emptying. Some medications given to patients for incontinence include anticholinergics, calcium channel blockers, and alpha-adrenergic agonists.