Urinary infections and incontinence

Urinary incontinence refers to the loss of control of urination. It is a relatively common condition in both men and women, and can be caused by a number of factors. Some temporary causes include a urinary tract infection, constipation and certain medications. Other causes include weakness of bladder muscles or pelvic floor, and neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.

There are several types of incontinence, including:

  • Stress incontinence
    This condition occurs when pressure is placed on the bladder during coughing, sneezing or exercising, causing urine to leak.
  • Urge incontinence
    Patients with this condition feel a sudden need to urinate and are unable to control urination. It can be caused by an infection or an underlying condition such as a neurological disorder.
  • Overflow incontinence
    The bladder does not empty completely, which leads to frequent leaking of urine.
  • Functional incontinence
    This condition occurs when there is another impairment that hinders patients from getting to the toilet in time. The impairment could be physical or mental.
  • Mixed incontinence
    Patients may experience more than one type of incontinence at one time.

Treatment for urinary incontinence depends on the cause of the condition, and Dr Maharajh may advise surgery, prescription medication or pelvic floor physiotherapy or a combination.

Urinary infections are caused by infectious organisms in the urogenital tract. Although infections can affect both men and women, they are more common in women as they have shorter urethras, and, as a result, bacteria are able to access the bladder more easily. Some common symptoms of a urinary tract infection include pain during urination, frequent need to urinate, abdominal and back pain, fatigue, and fever.

In order to diagnose a urinary tract infection, Dr Maharajh will do a urine test to check for bacteria. She may prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria and address the presenting symptoms.


Dr Suhani Maharajh is a Specialist Urologist in Durban. After completing her undergraduate training summa cum laude at Nelson R Mandela School of medicine, she pursued her true passion and qualified as a urologist in 2012 and was awarded the Lionel B Goldscmidt Medal.

Read more about Dr Maharajh.


5th Floor, Suite 505 Umhlanga Medical Centre,
Netcare Umhlanga Hospital, 323 Umhlanga Rocks Drive, Umhlanga Rocks, 4319, Durban

+27 31 582 5587