Urinary Problems in Women, Causes and Different Types

Urinary problems are common in women but many a time, due to shyness or embarrassment, a woman will rather bear with the problem than seek medical help until the condition becomes really intolerable. Another reason for avoiding the doctor is the fear that there is no other remedy for problems like incontinence except surgery, while in reality there are various methods of tackling the problem such as lifestyle changes, behavioral treatment, Kegel exercises, and medication.

Causes of Urinary Problems in Women

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI).
  • Pregnancy.
  • Childbirth.
  • Aging.
  • Menopause.
  • Nerve damage.
  • Diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, or stroke.
  • Medication such as diuretics.

Types of Urinary Problems in Women


Dysuria is painful urination or a burning sensation on passing urine. It is the most common symptom of UTI. Irritation or injury to the genital area may also cause dysuria.


Frequency is the urge to pass urine at frequent intervals even though only a small quantity of urine is passed each time. Usually, urination eight or more times in a day or two or more times at night is labeled as frequency.

  • Nocturia is frequent urination at night.
  • Polyuria is frequent urination with passage of large quantities of urine.


Urgency is the sudden and strong need to urinate immediately.


Incontinence is the inability to hold the urine, resulting in involuntary urination. There may be different types including :

  • Urge incontinence – abnormal bladder contractions can cause involuntary leakage of urine at inappropriate times or during sleep.
  • Stress incontinence – coughing, sneezing, laughing, or any other action that puts pressure on the bladder causes leakage of urine. Stress incontinence is more common in women than in men, and particularly in older women. This is due to the fact that pregnancy, multiple childbirths, aging, and decreasing hormone levels at menopause can cause various changes in the body. The pelvic muscles and other supporting structures of the bladder as well as the sphincter muscles are weakened, leading to leaking of urine during physical stress.
  • Overactive bladder – abnormal nerve signals to the bladder can cause sudden and frequent urination many times during the day and night. The symptoms of overactive bladder may include frequency, urgency, urge incontinence, and nocturia.
  • Functional incontinence – certain physical and medical conditions such as being wheelchair-bound or suffering from arthritis, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s may cause problems in reaching the toilet.
  • Overflow incontinence – leakage of small amounts of urine due to a full bladder. This may occur sometimes when the bladder does not empty properly, due to weak bladder muscles or urethral block. This type of incontinence is rare in women.
  • Mixed incontinence – it is quite common for both stress and urge incontinence to occur together in women.
  • Transient incontinence – this is temporary incontinence caused by a drug, UTI, or extreme cold.

Urinary Retention

Urinary retention is incomplete emptying of the bladder.

  • Acute urinary retention is the sudden inability to pass urine, causing pain and discomfort. This may be caused by an obstruction in the urinary system, neurological problems, or stress.
  • Chronic urinary retention is incomplete emptying of the bladder, resulting in some amount of urine being left in the bladder even after urination. Bladder muscle failure, urinary tract obstruction, or nerve damage can be a cause.


Hematuria is presence of blood in the urine. This may be caused by UTI, cancer, strenuous exercise, or menstrual blood.

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