What is urge urinary incontinence?

Updated: Jan 22, 2021
  • Author: Sandip P Vasavada, MD; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Urge incontinence or symptoms of an overactive bladder are uncontrolled urine loss associated with a strong desire to void, which is often a very sudden and rapid event that occurs without any warning. Urge incontinence is a type of uncontrolled urine loss that cannot be prevented. In this situation, the entire contents of the bladder are lost rather than a few drops of urine.

Patients with symptoms of an overactive bladder are aware of the intense need to void but are unable to hold back urine. Symptoms also include urinary frequency and nocturia.

Examples of situations that may precipitate urge incontinence include turning a key in the door, washing dishes, or hearing running water. Urge incontinence may also be triggered by drinking too much water or drinking coffee, tea, or alcohol.

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