The main symptom is the release (leakage) of urine when you don't want to. When and how this occurs will depend on the type of urinary incontinence.
Stress incontinence - this is the most common kind of urinary incontinence, especially among women who have given birth or have gone through the menopause. In this case stress refers to physical pressure, rather than mental stress. When the bladder and muscles involved in urinary control are placed under sudden extra pressure the person may urinate involuntarily.
The following actions may trigger stress incontinence:
A sudden cough
The amount of urine that leaks out unwillingly depends on how full the bladder is and how affected the muscles are.
Urge incontinence (effort incontinence) -, also known as reflex incontinence. This is the second most common type of urinary incontinence. The bladder is either unstable or overactive. There is a sudden, involuntary contraction of the muscular wall of the bladder (detrusor muscles) that causes urinary urgency - an urge to urinate that cannot be stopped. There is an involuntary loss of urine for no apparent reason while suddenly feeling the need or urge to urinate.