Banner Health Services  

Coital Incontinence

Matthew Karlovsky  
Matthew Karlovsky, MD, is an urologist with Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz.. 

Question: I am embarrassed when I leak urine during sexual intercourse with my husband. It seems to happen during the act as well as with orgasm. Why does this happen and how can I stop this?

Answer: “Coital Incontinence”, or urine leakage during sex, is not as uncommon as women may think. It occurs in 10-24 percent of women, but is probably under-reported due to patient or physician embarrassment about the subject.

Only about 3 percent of women will spontaneously report it to their physician. It does however negatively impact a woman’s quality of life.

Urine leakage during sex can occur during penetration, orgasm or both. Of women who report it, about two-thirds will leak during penetration, while one-third will leak during orgasm.

Usually, urinary incontinence during sex is linked to urinary incontinence that women can experience during the day doing other things. Overactive bladder that leads to urine leakage with an uncontrollable urge is linked to urine leakage with orgasm. Urine leakage during penetration is linked to stress incontinence, which is urine leakage that occurs with exercise, coughing, sneezing and laughing.

Coital Incontinence should be reported by the woman to her physician and screened for by the physician in patients who present to the family doctor or urologist with urinary incontinence. Other reversible reasons for urinary incontinence should be excluded first as part of the work up, such as urinary tract infections, undiagnosed diabetes, over-consumption of caffeinated drinks or bladder irritants such as foods with acid or spices. Often, the commonly successful treatments available for overactive bladder and stress incontinence will help treat urinary leakage women experience with sex, to help regain confidence and quality of life.

Reviewed August 2010
Page Last Modified: 08/24/2010
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