Updated: 1/18/2020

Urinary Incontinence

Review Topic
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  • A 68-year-old woman presents to her primary care physician with leakage of urine when she sneezes, laughs, or coughs. She reports that these symptoms strictly occur during the day and never at night. She denies any subjective fever, dysuria, or hematuria. Pelvic examination is notable for a protrusion from the anterior vagina. (Stress incontinence)
  • Clinical definition
    • involuntary urinary leakage
  • Diagnostic studies
    • all patients with urinary incontinence should have a urinalysis
    • if symptoms are concerning for a urinary tract infection obtain a urine culture
Urinary Incontinence
Pathogenesis Presentation
Diagnosis Treatment
Stress incontinence
  • May be secondary to a number of factors such as
    • weakened pelvic floor muscles
      • e.g., vaginal deliveries
    • poor intrinsic sphincter function
    • increased urethral mobility 
  • Urinary incontinence with ↑ intra-abdominal pressure
    • e.g., coughing, sneezing, laughing, and physical exertion
  • No urine loss at night
  • Physical exam
    • cystocele may be present
  • Q-type test 
  • Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles via
    • Kegel exercises
      • first-line
  • Topical estrogen for post-menopausal women
  • Pessary
  • Midurethral sling in patients unresponsive to initial therapy and pessary
Urge incontinence
  • Detrusor muscle overstimulation
  • Frequent urinary leakage that also occurs at night 
    • disrupts sleep
  • Urge to urinate and may be unable to reach the bathroom in time
  • Urodynamic testing
  • Antimuscarinics
    • e.g., oxybutynin
  • Mirabegron
Overflow incontinence
  • Incomplete bladder emptying results in urinary leakage secondary to
    • detrusor muscle underactivity
      • e.g., age, diabetes mellitus, and multiple sclerosis
    • bladder outlet obstruction
      • e.g., fibroids and benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • Urine loss without warning or triggers
  • Post-void residual volume measurements
  • Urodynamic testing
  • Clean intermittent catheterization  
Mixed Incontinence -
  • Symptoms of both stress and urge incontinence
  • Life style modifications and pelvic floor exercises is first-line
  • If unresponsive to first-line treatments then therapy is based on the predominant symptoms
Vesicovaginal fistula
  • Fistula that forms creating a connection between the bladder and vagina
  • May be secondary to surgery, pelvic irradiation, malignancy, or prolonged labor
  • Painless, continuous leakage of urine from vagina
  • Fluid pooling in the vagina
  • Methylene blue dye instilled into the bladder will then turn tampon placed in the vagina blue 
  • Surgery



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Questions (6)
Lab Values
Blood, Plasma, Serum Reference Range
ALT 8-20 U/L
Amylase, serum 25-125 U/L
AST 8-20 U/L
Bilirubin, serum (adult) Total // Direct 0.1-1.0 mg/dL // 0.0-0.3 mg/dL
Calcium, serum (Ca2+) 8.4-10.2 mg/dL
Cholesterol, serum Rec: < 200 mg/dL
Cortisol, serum 0800 h: 5-23 μg/dL //1600 h:
3-15 μg/dL
2000 h: ≤ 50% of 0800 h
Creatine kinase, serum Male: 25-90 U/L
Female: 10-70 U/L
Creatinine, serum 0.6-1.2 mg/dL
Electrolytes, serum  
Sodium (Na+) 136-145 mEq/L
Chloride (Cl-) 95-105 mEq/L
Potassium (K+) 3.5-5.0 mEq/L
Bicarbonate (HCO3-) 22-28 mEq/L
Magnesium (Mg2+) 1.5-2.0 mEq/L
Estriol, total, serum (in pregnancy)  
24-28 wks // 32-36 wks 30-170 ng/mL // 60-280 ng/mL
28-32 wk // 36-40 wks 40-220 ng/mL // 80-350 ng/mL
Ferritin, serum Male: 15-200 ng/mL
Female: 12-150 ng/mL
Follicle-stimulating hormone, serum/plasma Male: 4-25 mIU/mL
Female: premenopause: 4-30 mIU/mL
midcycle peak: 10-90 mIU/mL
postmenopause: 40-250
pH 7.35-7.45
PCO2 33-45 mmHg
PO2 75-105 mmHg
Glucose, serum Fasting: 70-110 mg/dL
2-h postprandial:<120 mg/dL
Growth hormone - arginine stimulation Fasting: <5 ng/mL
Provocative stimuli: > 7ng/mL
Immunoglobulins, serum  
IgA 76-390 mg/dL
IgE 0-380 IU/mL
IgG 650-1500 mg/dL
IgM 40-345 mg/dL
Iron 50-170 μg/dL
Lactate dehydrogenase, serum 45-90 U/L
Luteinizing hormone, serum/plasma Male: 6-23 mIU/mL
Female: follicular phase: 5-30 mIU/mL
midcycle: 75-150 mIU/mL
postmenopause 30-200 mIU/mL
Osmolality, serum 275-295 mOsmol/kd H2O
Parathyroid hormone, serume, N-terminal 230-630 pg/mL
Phosphatase (alkaline), serum (p-NPP at 30° C) 20-70 U/L
Phosphorus (inorganic), serum 3.0-4.5 mg/dL
Prolactin, serum (hPRL) < 20 ng/mL
Proteins, serum  
Total (recumbent) 6.0-7.8 g/dL
Albumin 3.5-5.5 g/dL
Globulin 2.3-3.5 g/dL
Thyroid-stimulating hormone, serum or plasma .5-5.0 μU/mL
Thyroidal iodine (123I) uptake 8%-30% of administered dose/24h
Thyroxine (T4), serum 5-12 μg/dL
Triglycerides, serum 35-160 mg/dL
Triiodothyronine (T3), serum (RIA) 115-190 ng/dL
Triiodothyronine (T3) resin uptake 25%-35%
Urea nitrogen, serum 7-18 mg/dL
Uric acid, serum 3.0-8.2 mg/dL
Hematologic Reference Range
Bleeding time 2-7 minutes
Erythrocyte count Male: 4.3-5.9 million/mm3
Female: 3.5-5.5 million mm3
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (Westergren) Male: 0-15 mm/h
Female: 0-20 mm/h
Hematocrit Male: 41%-53%
Female: 36%-46%
Hemoglobin A1c ≤ 6 %
Hemoglobin, blood Male: 13.5-17.5 g/dL
Female: 12.0-16.0 g/dL
Hemoglobin, plasma 1-4 mg/dL
Leukocyte count and differential  
Leukocyte count 4,500-11,000/mm3
Segmented neutrophils 54%-62%
Bands 3%-5%
Eosinophils 1%-3%
Basophils 0%-0.75%
Lymphocytes 25%-33%
Monocytes 3%-7%
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin 25.4-34.6 pg/cell
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration 31%-36% Hb/cell
Mean corpuscular volume 80-100 μm3
Partial thromboplastin time (activated) 25-40 seconds
Platelet count 150,000-400,000/mm3
Prothrombin time 11-15 seconds
Reticulocyte count 0.5%-1.5% of red cells
Thrombin time < 2 seconds deviation from control
Plasma Male: 25-43 mL/kg
Female: 28-45 mL/kg
Red cell Male: 20-36 mL/kg
Female: 19-31 mL/kg
Cerebrospinal Fluid Reference Range
Cell count 0-5/mm3
Chloride 118-132 mEq/L
Gamma globulin 3%-12% total proteins
Glucose 40-70 mg/dL
Pressure 70-180 mm H2O
Proteins, total < 40 mg/dL
Sweat Reference Range
Chloride 0-35 mmol/L
Calcium 100-300 mg/24 h
Chloride Varies with intake
Creatinine clearance Male: 97-137 mL/min
Female: 88-128 mL/min
Estriol, total (in pregnancy)  
30 wks 6-18 mg/24 h
35 wks 9-28 mg/24 h
40 wks 13-42 mg/24 h
17-Hydroxycorticosteroids Male: 3.0-10.0 mg/24 h
Female: 2.0-8.0 mg/24 h
17-Ketosteroids, total Male: 8-20 mg/24 h
Female: 6-15 mg/24 h
Osmolality 50-1400 mOsmol/kg H2O
Oxalate 8-40 μg/mL
Potassium Varies with diet
Proteins, total < 150 mg/24 h
Sodium Varies with diet
Uric acid Varies with diet
Body Mass Index (BMI) Adult: 19-25 kg/m2

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(M2.RL.15.4676) A 54-year-old woman presents to her gynecologist complaining of incontinence. She reports leakage of a small amount of urine when she coughs or laughs as well as occasionally when she is exercising. She denies any pain with urination. She underwent menopause 2 years ago and noted that this problem has increased in frequency since that time. Her history is significant only for three uncomplicated pregnancies with vaginal births. Urinalysis, post-void residual, and cystometrogram are conducted and all show normal results. The patient's vital signs are as follows: T 37.5 C, HR 80, BP 128/67, RR 12, and SpO2 99%. Physical examination is significant for pelvic organ prolapse on pelvic exam. Which of the following is a reasonable first step in the management of this patient's condition? Review Topic | Tested Concept

QID: 107224

Kegel exercises
















Tension-free vaginal tape



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