Urinary Incontience: Definition and What it is

Medically and clinically reviewed by Tamara Grisales, MD and Kandis Daroski, PT, DPT

Urinary Incontinence Definition and Meaning

Urinary incontinence is a prevalent condition characterized by the involuntary loss of bladder control, leading to the accidental loss of urine. 

It affects a lot of people, most often women. This involuntary urination can occur due to a temporary issue or as a chronic problem, impacting daily activities and quality of life. Often, urinary incontinence is related to issues with your pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that stretches between your pubic bone in the front and your tailbone in the back.

Types of Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence in women takes different forms and can trigger leakage for different reasons. Types of urinary incontinence include: stress incontinence (when pressure is placed on the bladder, like when you sneeze or run); urge incontinence (urine leaks after a sudden and intense urge to pee, often without warning); mixed incontinence (when you experience more than one type of urinary incontinence, most often a mix of stress and urge); and overflow incontinence (constant leaks or dribbles because your bladder doesn’t empty all the way).  

Urinary Incontinence Symptoms

The primary indicator of incontinence is the unintended release of urine, with some people experiencing minor leaks and others having more substantial and frequent episodes that can get in the way of everyday life.

Urinary Incontinence: A Hinge Health Perspective

Just because urinary incontinence is common doesn’t make it normal or something you just have to live with. There’s a lot you can do to improve symptoms of urinary incontinence. And studies show that exercise, lifestyle changes, and other non-surgical interventions can lead to big improvements — including the complete resolution of symptoms. That means no more leakage. Working with a physical therapist can help you determine the best treatment plan for you.

How Physical Therapy Can Help With Urinary Incontinence

Physical therapy can offer significant benefits when it comes to managing and treating urinary incontinence. A pelvic health physical therapist (PT) can customize a treatment plan, tailored to the specific type of urinary incontinence you’re experiencing, often including strengthening exercises, bladder training exercises, and urge suppression strategies. When problems with your pelvic floor muscles contribute to incontinence, pelvic floor physical therapy can help — it’s designed to strengthen the muscles that support bladder control. 

Beyond the pelvic floor, other musculoskeletal issues can also affect incontinence. Your pelvic floor muscles work closely with the muscles in your hip, core, and lower back. Weakness in any of those areas can cause your pelvic floor muscles to compensate. PTs may recommend exercises to help strengthen the hips, core, and lower back to allow the pelvic floor muscles to relax and function at their best to help relieve incontinence. You can see a physical therapist in person or use a program like Hinge Health to access a PT via telehealth/video visit.

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have pelvic pain; bladder, bowel, or other pelvic symptoms that are affecting your quality of life, you can get the relief you've been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program.

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you.

See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.


  1. Todhunter-Brown, A., Hazelton, C., Campbell, P., Elders, A., Hagen, S., & McClurg, D. (2022). Conservative interventions for treating urinary incontinence in women: an Overview of Cochrane systematic reviews. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 9(9), CD012337. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD012337.pub2  

  2. Faiena, I., Patel, N., Parihar, J. S., Calabrese, M., & Tunuguntla, H. (2015). Conservative Management of Urinary Incontinence in Women. Reviews in Urology, 17(3), 129–139. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4633656/ 

  3. Markland, A. D., Richter, H. E., Fwu, C. W., Eggers, P., & Kusek, J. W. (2011). Prevalence and trends of urinary incontinence in adults in the United States, 2001 to 2008. The Journal of Urology, 186(2), 589–593. doi:10.1016/j.juro.2011.03.114

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