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Urinary incontinence is defined as any accidental or involuntary loss of urine. Urinary incontinence is not a disease, but a symptom with many possible causes.

About 13 million Americans suffer from some degree of incontinence. Experts estimate that the true figure may be twice that amount, with women accounting for about 85 percent of all cases.

Many people assume incontinence is a normal part of aging. While it is common, it should never be considered normal. There are several treatments, and if one treatment is not satisfactory, another one should be evaluated.


Information gleaned from an intensive medical interview and a thorough physical exam helps our physicians determine your specific type of incontinence.

For instance, when a patient's bladder, uterus, or rectum has fallen out of place due to weakened supporting muscles, the condition is called prolapse. Prolapse often goes hand-in-hand with incontinence. In other instances, there is an underlying neurological condition that interferes with the body's nerve communication system, such as in multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease, resulting in the patient feeling an urgent need to urinate.

In addition to prolapse and neurologically caused incontinence, bladder dysfunctions treated at UT Southwestern Medical Center include:

  • Bladder spasm
  • Low pressure urethra
  • Stress incontinence
  • Urge incontinence


At UT Southwestern Medical Center, our physicians offer patients who suffer from incontinence the most effective and advanced treatments available. Some of these treatments are offered at only a few medical institutions in the world.

Our physicians were the first in North Texas to offer the botulinum toxin injection for neurogenic bladder dysfunction in men and women. In addition, our physicians offer unique treatments, like electrical stimulation, to patients who are unresponsive to other therapies.

Our urology and urogynecology specialists are committed to designing treatment plans that are uniquely suited for your needs.

Some of the treatments we offer include:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Biofeedback
  • Drug therapy
  • Exercise
  • In-office procedures
  • Incontinence surgery
  • Palliative measures

Our Specialists

UT Southwestern physicians have outstanding expertise in urodynamic studies – the use of X-ray imaging to help diagnose the causes of incontinence.

The medical center’s clinical trials program gives patients access to treatments that are often unavailable at other health care facilities. Depending on the specific condition and the type of incontinence, UT Southwestern can offer patients therapies that show particular promise years before the therapies are offered to the public.

Our experience in conducting some of the most advanced research into the causes and cures for incontinence enables UT Southwestern to provide patients with the best possible medical treatments, all in a caring and compassionate environment.

Women with bladder dysfunction can also be treated by our gynecology service.

Investigators Compare Treatments for Incontinence

As part of a national clinical trial, UTSW researchers found very little difference in effectiveness between two popular treatments for one of the most common ailments among American women: stress urinary incontinence.