Staying Sexually Active with Urinary Incontinence

Leaking urine, also known as urinary incontinence, is a common problem amongst individuals with certain cancers, or who have undergone certain cancer treatments, such as surgery to the pelvic region, radiation, or some chemotherapies.   

If you tend to leak urine during other activities, you may also have some incontinence during sexual excitement. Urine leakage during sex can happen due to increased pressure on the bladder during penetration, or some individuals may leak some urine during orgasm. Leaking urine at orgasm is called climacturia. 

If you only leak a few drops of urine, your partner may not notice or care, but it is understandable due to the possibility of mess or odor to be uncomfortable with urine leakage during a sexual encounter. 

Below are some tips to consider:  

  • Do not drink beverages with caffeine, alcohol, or artificial sweeteners before sex. Use positions for intercourse that do not put your partner’s weight on your bladder. 

  • Depending on what is causing urinary urgency, Kegels may help. View this link for information on how to perform Kegel exercises. Weight loss may also improve urgency in those who are overweight.   

  • Emptying your bladder before sex may help decrease urine leakage, but usually does not solve the problem completely. 

  • Avoid foods that can make urine odor stronger such as asparagus or some deli meats.  

  • Consider having sex in the bath or a shower (but be careful not to slip). This can make urinary incontinence less noticeable. 

  • Communicate with your partner. Talking about the possibility of urinary leakage could allow you to figure out ways to make you both feel comfortable. This could include placing a towel or pad beneath you, showering before or after sex, or avoiding oral sex. Each person may have different comfort levels and talking about them can be helpful.  

 For more tips on how to navigate urinary incontinence in your everyday life, click here.