A/Prof Tan Thiam Chye, Head and Senior Consultant, Dr Tan Kim Teng, Senior Consultant, Adj Assoc Prof Tan Heng Hao, Deputy Chairman and Head and Senior Consultant, and A/Prof John Tee Chee Seng, Senior Consultant, all from the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth group, discuss frequent urination, urinary urgency, and other common urinary problems faced by women.

Common urinary problems in women: Bladder problems and pelvic organs prolapse

The female bladder stores and passes urine at the appropriate time and place. When there are problems with bladder function, the patient will need to visit the toilet often, may be unable to pass urine, or may even leak urine.

On the other hand, prolapse of the pelvic organs such as the urinary bladder (urine “bag”), womb, and rectum (back-passage) is very common and occurs in more than 10 per cent of women.

Frequent urination, urinary urgency, and urge incontinence - know the difference

Frequent urination is the need to pass urine for more than seven times during the day or less than every two hours.

Urgency is a strong and sudden desire to void which, if not relieved immediately, may lead to urge incontinence.

Urge incontinence is an involuntary leakage of urine, usually preceded by urgency.

What are the common causes of frequent urination and urinary urgency?

  • Excessive drinking
  • Habit
  • Anxiety
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Detrusor (bladder muscle) overactivity
  • Bladder tumour
  • Bladder stones
  • Pregnancy
  • Bladder prolapse
  • Pelvic mass, e.g. fibroids
  • Diuretic therapy
  • Disease of the brain/spinal cord
  • Diabetes

How to cope with frequent urination and urinary urgency?

You should visit your family doctor who will ask you questions on your medical history and urinary habits. After a physical examination, the doctor may perform a few simple tests such as collecting your urine specimen for analysis to exclude urinary tract infection (UTI). Depending on the cause of your condition, the doctor may start you on medication or refer you to a specialist for further management.

See next page to learn about urinary incontinence in women and ways to cope with it.

Ref: N18