Learn about bladder problems and solutions


Leaking urine, also called poor bladder control or urinary incontinence, is not a normal part of aging.


Incontinence is more common in older adults, but can happen at any age. It can be caused by or get worse because of:

  • Weak or overactive bladder muscles

  • Blood pressure medications, diuretics or "water pills," and other medicines

  • Urinary tract infections

  • An enlarged prostate or prostate surgery in men

There are different types of incontinence:

  • Stress incontinence, the most common type, is brought on by lifting, sneezing, coughing or other sudden stresses

  • Urge incontinence is when someone has a very strong, sudden need to urinate and can't reach a toilet in time

  • Overflow incontinence is when someone has trouble emptying their bladder and urine leaks out of the full bladder

  • Functional incontinence is when someone with limited mobility can't reach a toilet in time

Health professionals can help older adults with incontinence.

Incontinence can often be helped by:

  • Doing "pelvic floor" exercises to strengthen the muscles around the bladder

  • Making regular trips to the toilet (for example, every two hours), rather than waiting for the need to go

  • Switching medications or changing when they're taken

  • Making lifestyle changes like losing weight, quitting smoking or avoiding caffeine

  • Preventing constipation, which can make incontinence worse