The Management of Urinary Incontinence

Jennifer A. Wilson, PharmD, BCACP; Rashi C. Waghel, PharmD, BCACP, CPP


US Pharmacist. 2016;41(9):22-26. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Urinary incontinence (UI) is a common problem, especially in women, and it can significantly impact quality of life. UI involves involuntary urine leakage, which can result in a number of symptoms, including urgency, frequency, and nocturia. UI may be classified as stress, urge, overflow, functional, or mixed, depending on the underlying etiology. First-line treatment involves nonpharmacologic measures regardless of UI type. When nonpharmacologic measures are insufficient, pharmacologic options may be considered for some types of UI. Many of the pharmacologic options for UI are associated with undesirable, yet manageable, adverse effects; therefore, counseling is important in fostering patient adherence to medications used to treat UI.


Urinary incontinence (UI), which is defined as an involuntary leakage of urine, is a common problem in the United States.[1,2] Symptoms of UI include urgency (a sudden need to urinate that is difficult to suppress), increased daytime frequency (urination >8 times per day), and nighttime urination. Although UI seems to occur most frequently in women of menopausal age, anyone can be affected.[1] It is difficult to determine the exact prevalence of this condition; however, it is estimated that UI affects 20% to 30% of young females, 30% to 40% of middle-aged females, and 30% to 50% of elderly females. The overall estimated prevalence in men is much lower (3% to 11%).[3]