Urinary incontinence

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Gynecology Division

Boulevard de la Cluse 30
1205 Genève

Urinary incontinence: dare to talk about it

The HUG Gynecology Division offers adapted and personalized diagnostic and therapeutic care for women with urinary incontinence.It is estimated that between 20 and 40% of women, depending on age, suffer from urinary incontinence. This condition affects about 500,000 women in Switzerland. However, because it is a source of embarrassment and feelings of shame, urinary incontinence is still taboo and most women do not dare to talk about it with their physician.

However, it is possible to prevent urinary incontinence and therapeutic care cures or improves over 90% of cases.

Presentation by Dr. P. Dällenbach

Contact the Unit and the Perineology Office

Telephone: +41 (0)22 372 41 97

Attending Physician Dr. Patrick Dällenbach

What are the symptoms?

  • Do you experience urine loss during exercise? When coughing, sneezing or laughing? Or when carrying loads or walking?
  • Do you often feel an urge to urinate and have an involuntary leak before you reach the toilet?
  • Do you often feel a sudden and intense need to urinate?

What to do in case of symptoms?When these symptoms appear, consult your gynecologist or contact the HUG Perineology Office.

What are the main types of urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence manifests as “leaks” of urine, i.e., involuntary losses that can occur during all activities of daily life.

There are three main types of urinary incontinence:

  • stress urinary incontinence: the leaks occur during an increase in abdominal pressure caused by a physical effort
  • urge urinary incontinence: it is characterized by irrepressible urges to urinate due to abnormal bladder function
  • mixed urinary incontinence: it combines stress and urge urinary incontinence.

In women, urinary incontinence can be isolated or associated with an “organ drop” (genital prolapse).

What are the consequences of urinary incontinence?

Fearing an involuntary loss, women with urinary incontinence isolate themselves and limit their social life to the bare minimum.

The embarrassment caused by urinary incontinence has consequences on their emotional and psychological state and alters their quality of life.

How is it diagnosed?

The consultation

During the consultation, the physician asks you questions to find out:

  • your history (pregnancy, pelvic surgery, etc.)
  • medications you are taking
  • your current symptoms (frequency and circumstances of leaks, their significance, etc.).

Then, the physician performs a clinical and pelvic exam.

Depending on the results of the first consultation, the physician may prescribe a treatment or additional tests.

Additional exams

  • Bacteriological urinalysis: to rule out any urinary infection.
  • Urodynamic testing: to check bladder function. This test characterizes the incontinence and guides therapeutic choices.
  • Ultrasound of the bladder and perineum.
  • Cystoscopy: insertion of a camera to view the internal wall of the bladder and check for causes of overactive bladder.

Read Urodynamic testing. Answers to your questions 

What are the treatments for urinary incontinence?

There are several treatments for urinary incontinence in women:

  • Pelvic floor rehabilitation: this technique prevents and treats urinary incontinence [link to sub-section of the website]
  • drug treatments
  • surgical treatments.

Your physician will offer the treatment that best suits your condition.

Contact the Unit and the Perineology Office

Dr Patrick DällenbachSenior Staff Physician, Head of the Perineology Unit Dr. Patrick Dällenbach


Mme Sandra ConstantinoHead Nurse of the UnitMs. Sandra Constantino


Make an appointment with the Perineology OfficeThe administrative office is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and can be reached at +41 (0)22 372 41 97 

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Last update : 12/02/2019