What Is Urinary Stress Incontinence?

Urinary stress incontinence is the unintentional loss of urine. Stress incontinence occurs when physical movement or activity puts pressure (stress) on the bladder, causing it to leak urine. Stress incontinence is not related to psychological stress.

Some of the most common symptoms associated with urinary stress incontinence involve leaking urine when you:

  • Cough or sneeze
  • Bend over
  • Laugh
  • Exercise
  • Have intercourse
  • Lift something heavy

Individuals with urinary stress incontinence may not leak urine every time they engage in one of these activities, but any activity that increases the pressure placed on the bladder can make them more likely to have unintentional urine loss. Due to the stigma and embarrassment surrounding conditions that cause urinary incontinence, those with urinary stress incontinence may feel the need to isolate themselves and avoid social gatherings, work, and other physical or leisure activities. However, with treatment some individuals who suffer from urinary stress incontinence are able to manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.

In many cases, an individual’s stress incontinence can be too severe to improve completely through medical intervention. In these situations, the individual’s incontinence can have significant effects on his or her earning potential if it affects his or her ability to work. Veterans with urinary stress incontinence are eligible to receive VA disability benefits if their condition results from their military service. 

Getting Service Connection For Urinary Stress Incontinence

Due to urinary stress incontinence being a physical condition, veterans are best able to support their claim for service connection if they include evidence in the form of medical records with their application. Ideally, these medical records will show that (1) the condition was diagnosed in service, (2) symptoms of the condition began to present in service even if a formal diagnosis wasn’t obtained until after discharge, or (3) the condition is the result of another service-connected condition, such as PTSD, chronic bronchitis, or hernia repair surgery residuals. Medical records also provide VA rating specialists with information about the severity of a veteran’s urinary stress incontinence, allowing them to determine the proper schedular disability rating to assign to the condition.

How The VA Rates Urinary Stress Incontinence

Under 38 CFR § 4.115a, the VA rates dysfunctions of the genitourinary system. Among these rating criteria includes a rating schedule for voiding dysfunction, which the VA uses to evaluate conditions like urinary stress incontinence.

Voiding dysfunction: Continual Urine Leakage, Post Surgical Urinary Diversion, Urinary Incontinence, or Stress Incontinence:

  • 60 – Requiring the use of an appliance or the wearing of absorbent materials which must be changed more than 4 times per day
  • 40 – Requiring the wearing of absorbent materials which must be changed 2 to 4 times per day
  • 20 – Requiring the wearing of absorbent materials which must be changed less than 2 times per day

Help With Your Urinary Stress Incontinence Claim

If you are a veteran with urinary stress incontinence and would like assistance with your VA disability benefits claim, please contact our office today. Our veterans disability lawyers have experience getting service connection for veterans with this condition and are ready to help you get the compensation you deserve.