Urinary incontinence -- when you accidentally leak urine -- is a problem that affects millions of Americans, most of them women. There are several different types, causes, and treatments.

Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence can happen when pressure on your bladder increases -- such as when you exercise, laugh, sneeze, or cough.

Causes of stress incontinence include:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth can stretch and weaken a woman’s pelvic floor muscles.

  • Being overweight or obese

  • Taking certain medications or, in men, having prostate surgery

Urge Incontinence

This is also called overactive bladder (OAB). With this type, you have an urgent need to go to the bathroom and may not get there in time.

Causes of overactive bladder include:

  • Damage to the bladder's nerves

  • Damage to other parts of the nervous system

  • Damage to muscles

Conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and stroke can affect nerves, leading to urge incontinence. Bladder problems, such as infections and bladder stones, and certain medications can also cause it.

Overflow Incontinence

If you can't empty your bladder, you may have overflow incontinence.