Female Urinary Conditions | OB-GYN


Female Urinary Conditions

We understand urinary conditions can disrupt your life, and we’re here to help. Our urogynecologists specialize in treating all types of urinary conditions.

Medically reviewed on Aug. 02, 2023.

Female patient and female physician wearing masks in an exam room

What Are Urinary Conditions?

Urinary conditions affect your bladder and urination. They also may involve your kidneys, ureters (tubes that carry urine from your kidneys to your bladder) and urethra (the tube that carries urine out of your body). Common urinary conditions in women include:

  • Bladder or urinary tract infections (UTI) happen when bacteria get into your urinary tract.
  • Incontinence is a group of bladder control issues that may cause you to leak urine.
  • Interstitial cystitis is a condition that causes painful inflammation in your bladder.
  • Overactive bladder is a condition that causes frequent urges to urinate, even when your bladder isn’t full.
  • Urinary retention is when your bladder doesn’t empty properly when you urinate.

We know urinary conditions can disrupt your daily life, and we’re here to help. 


Symptoms of Urinary Conditions

Your symptoms depend on your type of urinary condition and how bad it is. Symptoms may be mild or severe.

Common Symptoms

Symptoms of urinary conditions may include:

  • Bloody or cloudy urine
  • Frequent or urgent urination
  • Leaking urine
  • Pain or pressure in your lower abdomen
  • Painful urination

Emergency Symptoms

Call 911 or get medical care right away if you experience:

  • Confusion or mental changes
  • Inability to urinate
  • Severe lower abdominal or lower back pain

Urinary Condition Causes

Different urinary conditions have different causes. Some causes can be treated or eliminated, but others are ongoing.


A blockage in your urinary tract can lead to an infection and other urinary problems.


Urinary tract infections (UTIs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can cause urinary conditions.

Medications and Other Substances

Certain medications, such as diuretics, can cause conditions such as urinary incontinence. Alcohol and caffeine can also affect nerve signals to your bladder and cause urinary conditions.

Nerve-Related Conditions

Certain conditions may affect how your nerves send signals to your bladder. Examples of these conditions include Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord damage and spinal diseases.

Vaginal Childbirth

Giving birth vaginally can cause some urinary conditions.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Urinary incontinence can occur when pelvic organs such as the bladder slip out of their natural position. Prolapse happens when tissue supporting the pelvic organs weakens.


Urinary Conditions Risk Factors

There are some factors that can increase your risk for certain urinary conditions, including:


The muscles of your urinary system may lose some of their tone, leading to urinary conditions as you get older.

Biological Sex

People assigned female at birth are likelier than those assigned male at birth to have some types of urinary conditions.


Being overweight raises your risk of some urinary conditions.


Diagnosing Urinary Conditions

Your provider will ask about your symptoms and go over your health history. You may need one or more tests, such as:

  • Cystoscopy: A test where your provider uses a very thin scope that goes through your urethra so your provider can see inside your bladder.
  • Electromyography (EMG): A test that uses sensors to measure how well the nerves and muscles in and near your bladder are working.
  • Imaging tests: Scans such as CT scan or ultrasound create an image of your bladder and may reveal problems.
  • Urinalysis: Urine tests check for bacteria and other signs of infection or problems.

Treatments for Urinary Conditions at UC Davis Health

Urinary conditions may make you feel self-conscious, but we prioritize treating you with compassion and respect. Our urogynecology subspecialists provide the most advanced minimally invasive treatments for all types of urinary conditions.

Bladder Control Devices

Bladder control devices and bladder inserts can reposition or compress your urethra to help with incontinence.

Lifestyle Changes

Avoiding alcohol and caffeine may help with some urinary problems. Getting to a healthy weight can also help with incontinence.


There are many medications that can help with different types of incontinence. If you have a urinary tract infection, antibiotics are the main treatment.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy (PT) can help with some causes of urinary conditions. PT may include bladder muscle training and Kegel exercises. These exercises strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which can help with bladder control.

Surgery and Other Procedures

Bladder control surgeries include surgical mesh and sling procedures, which help support your pelvic floor. We also offer injections that increase the size of your urethral lining, which gives you better bladder control.

An artificial urinary sphincter implant is another bladder control solution we offer. Our Department of Urologic Surgery specialists can help you find the best surgical solution.


Preventing Urinary Conditions

Good hygiene and using a condom or barrier method during sex can help prevent urinary tract infections (UTI).

Who does it affect?

45%Of U.S. women experience urinary incontinence

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