Incontinence (involuntary loss of urine) may be a devastating problem, resulting in embarrassment, loss of intimacy, and even social isolation. We describe it to our patients as a “social cancer”. For a consultation you can contact our reconstructive urology clinic to schedule an appointment.

Types of Incontinence

Incontinence comes in several varieties but the most common are the following:

Stress Incontinence

This is defined as leakage associated with activity. This type of incontinence, or involuntary loss of urine, in men usually occurs after prostate surgery for cancer but occasionally may occur after other events such as injury, transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), etc. Typically there has been injury to the urinary sphincter muscle. Leakage then occurs when the patient uses their abdominal muscles, for example sneezing, coughing, laughing, bending over, athletic activities, etc.

If a man is diagnosed with stress incontinence, various successful treatments are available.

Urge Incontinence

Also known as overactive bladder, this is when the man gets an irrepressible urgency to urinate and cannot get to a bathroom in time. Men can also get urgency without incontinence, which is the feeling of urinary urgency but the man is able to suppress it (sometimes barely!). These are very common problems, with a wide variety of causes. Causes include: infection, medications, prostate growth, over activity or sensitivity of the bladder muscles, sensitivity to certain foods or substances, neurologic injury or diseases and others. Occasionally, urgency or urge incontinence can be the sign of a more serious underlying condition such as bladder cancer.

Urgency and urge incontinence are NOT normal and need to be evaluated. Evaluation includes a patient’s history and examination, an analysis of the urine, and often additional testing such as cystoscopy (looking into the bladder with a very small camera; it is not a painful procedure) and/or urodynamics (an outpatient “functional” test of the bladder muscles done in clinic).

Treatment depends on the cause and the individual and may include behavioral therapy, medications and/or neuromodulation.

Overflow Incontinence

This is typically a constant leakage that occurs when a patient is unable to efficiently empty their bladder. Urine builds up and “spills” out, like a reservoir spilling over a dam. This can be due to obstruction (such as prostate or scarring in the urethra) and/or loss of bladder function or sensation. It can be dangerous and requires investigation to make sure no other problems are occurring. Treatments generally include catheters and/or surgery.

Ashley M. Sacks, DPT

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.7px Calibri; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none}Ashley received her undergraduate degree in biology-chemistry at Colorado State University-Pueblo and her Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Utah.  Ashley is the Utah State Representative for American Phys... Read More


Constipation, Fecal Incontinence, Female Incontinence, Incontinence, Male Incontinence, Non-Surgical Management of Prolapse and Incontinence, OB/Gyn, General, Pelvic Dysfunction/Incontinence, Pelvic Pain, Physical Therapy


Salt Lake Regional Medical Center 801-213-2995

Stephen J. Summers, MD

Patient Rating:


4.9 out of 5

As a general urologist I see both men and women of all ages with a variety of urologic complaints. Currently I see patients at both the University of Utah main campus, as well as at the new Farmington Health Center. I care for patients with most urologic disorders and have special interests in the management of complex or recurrent kidney stones, p... Read More


Endourology, Erectile Dysfunction, General Urology, Kidney Cancer, Laparoscopy, Male Incontinence, Stone Disease, Ureteral Stricture, Urethral Stricture, Urologic Oncology, Urology, Vasectomy


Farmington Health Center 801-213-3200
University of Utah Hospital
3rd Floor, Room 3A100
50 N Medical Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84132
Farmington Health Center 165 N. University Ave.
Farmington, UT 84025
South Jordan Health Center 5126 W. Daybreak Parkway
South Jordan, UT 84009