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Urinary incontinence or accidental urine leakage is considered to be an old person’s condition. But in reality, it affects 1 in 5 men and 1 in 3 women over the age of 35 years.

What Are Accidental Urine Leaks?

Accidental urine leakage or urinary incontinence is when a person cannot control the flow of urine, or stop it from leaking out of their bladder. It could happen when a person is laughing or sneezing, or because they are unable to reach the toilet on time or have medical conditions such as diabetes.  

Urinary incontinence is not a standalone condition but rather a symptom of an underlying issue. And once this issue is treated, you might stop experiencing urine leaks as well. 

Understanding the Urinary System and Meaning of Incontinence

To understand the meaning of incontinence, first, you need to understand how your urinary system works. The kidneys constantly filter blood and remove waste products and excess water. This filtered waste travels down the ureters to the bladder and is stored there.

The sphincter muscles keep the bladder closed and sphincter the urine from leaking. When the bladder is full, the sphincter muscles relax, the bladder contracts, and you urinate.

But you can have incontinence in the following cases:

  • Weak pelvic floor muscles are not able to support the bladder.
  • Weak sphincter muscles relax too often and slip out some urine.
  • Overactive bladder muscles contract involuntarily and let out the urine.
  • Weak bladder muscles are unable to empty the bladder completely.

How Common is Accidental Urinary Leakage?

It's estimated that around 200 million people worldwide have some form of urinary incontinence. So, accidental urinary leakage is more common than you would think. It affects all genders but is more common in women due to pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause.

It is also more common in people older than 50 years of age. Because their nerves become less sensitive, and they start losing control over their bladder function. 

Urine Leakage in Men or Male Incontinence 

Urine leakage in men, also known as male incontinence, happens when a man can't control his bladder well and it happens most commonly due to an overactive bladder.

This could be due to various reasons, such as weak bladder muscles, prostate problems, nerve damage, surgery in the pelvic area, neurological conditions like stroke, Parkinson's disease, or multiple sclerosis, and other medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and chronic respiratory problems.

It can happen when laughing, coughing, or lifting heavy weights. Treatment options include exercises, medication, and, sometimes, surgery.

Urine Leakage in Women or Female Incontinence

Urine leakage in women is called female incontinence. It occurs due to an overactive bladder or because of stress incontinence. Women are more prone to urine leakage due to several factors related to their anatomy, physiology and/or biological processes. Incontinence causes include:

  • Childbirth 
  • Menopause 
  • Weakened pelvic floor muscles 
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) 

It can result in leaking urine when sneezing, laughing, or exercising. Treatments can include pelvic floor exercises, lifestyle changes, medications, or, sometimes, surgery.

What Are The Main Kinds of Accidental Urine Leakage?

Accidental urine leakage is broadly divided into a few categories based on the quantum and cause of leaks. 

  • Stress Incontinence:

This refers to leaks experienced when a person sneezes, laughs, picks up something heavy or does activities that put pressure on the bladder. 

Occurs because of a weakening of the muscles that control the opening and closing of the bladder. 

Results in small leaks—a few drops to a splatter. 

Seen mostly in women post childbirth, pregnancy or menopause. 

  • Overflow Incontinence:

This refers to small-to-medium leaks experienced when a person is unable to fully empty their bladder. In this type of incontinence, despite an urge to urinate, only a small amount is released. As the bladder is never fully empties it becomes overfull, causing small amounts to consistently dribble out.

Occurs because of a weak bladder muscle or an obstruction in the bladder.

Results in small amounts of urine seeping out constantly or at assorted intervals.

Seen mostly in men facing diabetes, bladder obstruction or prostate issues.  

  • Urge Incontinence:

This refers to a sudden, intense, and uncontrollable need to urinate irrespective of how full the bladder is. As the bladder squeezes or spasms suddenly, urine is expelled quickly causing a leak.

Occurs due to a weakening of the bladder muscle or the nerves that control it.

Results in sudden leaks of varied amounts, especially during the night.

It is often seen in the elderly; those facing prostate cancer, diabetes, or multiple sclerosis.

  • Pregnancy Incontinence:

Pregnancy incontinence is a common issue affecting many expecting mothers. It can be in the form of a few drops or larger amounts of urinary leaks.

As your baby grows, the uterus puts increasing pressure on your bladder. This pressure causes an overactive bladder, which leads to leaks. Pregnancy hormones (particularly progesterone) can also cause incontinence. They relax the muscles in your bladder and urethra, making it harder to control urine flow.

This type of incontinence often resolves after childbirth. However, some women may continue to experience it. This requires further treatment to manage the symptoms.

  • Functional Incontinence:

Functional incontinence is a type of urinary incontinence where the issue isn't with the bladder itself. It is physical or mental limitations that prevent someone from getting to the bathroom on time or using the toilet effectively.

Functional incontinence causes include physical limitations like difficulty walking, dressing or undressing, conditions like poor vision, arthritis, muscle weakness, or Parkinson's disease, and cognitive impairment due to conditions like dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

This type of incontinence is mostly observed in older adults. This can be managed by providing mobility aids, modifying the environment for easier access to bathrooms, and implementing toileting schedules.

Can I manage urine leakage by myself?  

Yes! There are several home remedies that can help control the leakage, or retrain the bladder or the pelvic floor muscles to perform to their full capacity. A few popular ones are: 


Kegels help tighten the muscles of the pelvic region, thereby rebuilding the body's control on the process of urination.

These easy to perform, at-home exercises require simple clenching and unclenching of the muscles that stop or control flow while urinating. Kegel exercises help pelvic muscles firm up, reversing sag caused by ageing, pregnancy, etc.

Kegels help tighten the muscles of the pelvic region, thereby rebuilding the body's control on the process of urination.

This method involves retraining one's bladder to release urine only consciously, on command; instead of suddenly, in response to a spasm. Individuals must hold their bladder till the appointed toilet hour, and then release; gradually increasing the intervals between toilet breaks.


Friends Adult Diapers can help deal with the constant fear of leaks by holding in small-large leaks while exercising, travelling, sleeping or working. These absorbent underpants block the release of smell and also protect from bacterial infections that may come with prolonged wetness.

    Do I Need Surgery To Manage Urine Leakage?  

    If non-surgical treatments for urinary incontinence such as those listed above are not working for you, you can discuss the risks and benefits of surgical routes with your doctor. These surgeries would mostly involve treating the underlying condition causing the incontinence, but if irreversible, can also be used to address the incontinence itself. A few surgeries commonly opted for by patients include:

    • Prostate Surgery:

    It is an option that men suffering from prostate enlargement can go for. In this condition the prostate, (which is a small, walnut-sized gland found in men) expands beyond its normal size and presses against the urethra (tube that expels urine from the body) causing leaks. The surgery involves a (mostly laproscopic) reduction/removal of the prostate gland.

    Artist's representation of an enlarged prostate gland. Notice how the organ is shutting the urinary sphincter.
    • Sling Procedure: 

    Are ideal for those dealing with stress incontinence where a mesh from synthetic material or body tissue is used to keep the urethra (urine-carrying tube) in place making sure that urine doesn’t spill out.

    • Artificial Urinary Sphincter: 
    Can help regain control over your bladder sphincter muscles—circular muscles to open and close passages.

      How should I plan my travel if I deal with urine leakage?

      1. Consult your doctor for medications:  Before your trip, consult with your healthcare provider to discuss medications that may help manage incontinence symptoms. They can provide guidance on dosage and timing to ensure you're well-prepared for your journey.

      2. Create a checklist of necessary items: Prepare a checklist including absorbent products, medications, a change of clothes, and hygiene essentials like Friends Underpads or Friends Bed Bath Towels. Having a list ensures you don't forget any essential items and can help you let go of stress during your travels.

      3. Plan bathroom visits: Look up bathroom stops in advance to plan strategic breaks during your journey, even if you don't feel an immediate urge. Taking proactive bathroom stops can help prevent unexpected leaks and ensure you stay comfortable throughout your trip.

      4. Carry a travel-sized hygiene kit: Pack a compact kit with wet wipes, hand sanitizer, and any other personal hygiene items you might need. This kit ensures you're prepared for quick clean-ups and any emergencies.

      5. Include spare underwear in your bag: Pack a few extra pairs of underwear in your carry-on or day bag. This provides a simple and quick solution if you need to change, allowing you to maintain comfort and confidence during your journey. 

      6. Stock up on adult diapers: Consider using Friends Adult Diapers for added protection, especially during long journeys. They provide up to 16 hours of reliable absorption and can be a discreet solution for managing incontinence while on the go. 

      7. Stay hydrated, but manage intake: Hydration is essential, but be mindful of your fluid intake, especially before the journey. Avoid excessive consumption of caffeine and acidic beverages, as these can irritate the bladder and contribute to increased urgency.

      8. Eat right:  Maintain a balanced diet and avoid foods and drinks that can worsen incontinence symptoms. Spicy foods and artificial sweeteners, may irritate the bladder, so be conscious of your dietary choices. 

      Jeene ke hain chaar din, baki hain bekaar din! So don’t stress and enjoy your trip. With proper planning, the right mindset and following these tips you can navigate your travel with confidence, ensuring that incontinence doesn't hinder your enjoyment of the trip. Safe travels! 

      What is the right Friends product to buy for your trip?  

      Are you ready to tackle your travel bucketlist? Here’s a few Friends products that could be your trusted companions throughout your trips! 

      You could try these adult diaper pants if you're travelling for work from Bandra to Churchgate. During this short travel you sometimes lose small amounts of urine (approx. 10 ml) when you're being pushed by a crowd in the local train or when you sneeze, cough, laugh or sit down. You could wear these super slim dry pants under your clothes everyday, no matter if you like trousers, skirts, or sarees!  
      A Classic Dry Pant has your back if you’re travelling from Mumbai to Pune by roadways which is 3 hours away. You might be suffering from diabetes or have urinary control issues so when you don’t reach the toilet in time you might leak about a 100 ml of urine every time.    
      Wear a Premium Dry Pant when you’re travelling from Mumbai to Goa by a train which is about 9 hours away. You have heavy urine leakage issues (approx. 300 ml) and might have to fully void into the diaper 2-3 times.   
      Friends Overnight Dry Pants for international flights and travels are made for people who experience heavy urine leaks (approx. 500 ml) without their knowledge or when they're asleep. Or people who just cannot deal with the hassle of public toilets.    

        A few things to know about adult diapers:  

        • Right size:

        Finding yourself the right size of diaper is half the battle against incontinence won! Get a diaper size that fits comfortably. A loose diaper leaks and a really tight one could restrict your blood flow.  
        • Absorption:

        An absorbent diaper could keep you away from wetness and in turn bacterial infections, rashes and discomfort. Consider a diaper variant as per the leaks you experience to avoid any overflow.   
        • Heaviness:

        Diapers do get heavy after 2-3 substantial leak cycles! This is because a diaper does not get rid of liquid, it merely turns it into a gel form and holds it within itself. So, while you may not experience wetness, your diaper might become slightly heavier.  
        • Overwear:

        Overwearing a diaper is a bad decision. Stick to the guidelines mentioned on the Friends Adult Diapers of your choice to ensure you get a pleasant wearing experience without any leaks or spills.  
        • Disposal:

        Dispose of a diaper by rolling it onto itself, or emptying it in a toilet first if it has faecal matter. Cover this rolled diaper in a newspaper or a plastic bag, then throw in a bin. 

          Product Recommendations

          Living with Incontinence/Accidental Urinary Leakage

          Dealing with incontinence can be tough, especially since it feels like you’re fighting a battle all by yourself. The constant bathroom breaks, pain and embarrassment could take a toll on your mental health. But remember, you're not alone in this. Seek support from healthcare professionals and your loved ones. Join support groups to find people who are going through the same issues as you are. Friends is always here for you to make this journey easier and lend you guidance and support just a call away on our toll-free number. 1800 266 0640 😊


          Will wearing diapers cause rashes? 

          Wearing good diapers made by brands such as Friends Adult Diapers will not cause rashes! Friends Diapers are made with high quality cottony fibrous material that doesn’t irritate or chafe the skin. They’re also highly absorbent making sure leaks are soaks immediately and the skin doesn’t remain in contact with wetness for long.

          Are diapers expensive? 

          No! Friends diapers are available across a wide price spectrum starting as low as ₹50 and going up to ₹71 per piece. You can buy diapers that match your need. Investing in a good diaper is a lot better than having to deal with the mental toll of leaks and spills. 

          What are lifestyle issues that can worsen my urine leakage?  

          Some lifestyle habits such as smoking, drinking, eating spicy foods, citrusy fruits, caffeinated foods and beverages, along with not managing weight can lead to worsening of urine leakage issues. 

          How is having an enlarged prostate linked to accidental urine leaks?  

          The prostate gland is located just below the bladder in men and surrounds the top portion of the tube that drains urine from the bladder (urethra). When the prostate gland enlarges, it can squeeze the urethra. This compression can result in difficulties in fully emptying the bladder and cause increased pressure on the bladder walls. Over time, this heightened pressure can lead to involuntary urine leakage, particularly during activities that put stress on the bladder, such as coughing or lifting. 

          If you or a loved one you know is experiencing urine leakage ask them to visit a doctor immediately, because an enlarged prostate could be causing this.  

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