It is important to remember that incontinence is a symptom of an underlying disorder and is not a disease in itself. There are many different types of incontinence which could be brought on by an even greater number of disorders. Below is a list of the types of urinary incontinence that could be diagnosed.
Understanding Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is loss of bladder control. This means that a person is not able to
regulate when they urinate, which can cause accidents. Urinary incontinence is a common medical
condition that affects millions of adults in the United States. There are several different types of urinary
incontinence and the medical conditions that cause them are varied.
Types of Urinary Incontinence
- Stress Incontinence causes a
person to leak urine when stress is put on weak bladder or pelvic muscles
(sneezing, coughing, laughing, lifting, and exercise). This is a very common type of
incontinence in women- especially those who are pregnant, have given
birth, or are experiencing menopause.
Male stress incontinence is more rare, but can occur after prostate
- Urge Incontinence causes accidents
of varying degrees to occur when a sudden, powerful urge to urinate comes
on and the person is not able to make it to the bathroom in time. This is due to overactive or damaged
nerves that control the bladder or bladder muscles that spasm/contract
involuntarily. Urge incontinence
is common in those who have medical conditions that damage the bladder
nerves or muscles controlling it- particularly infections in the urinary
tract (UTI), bladder, or kidneys, Multiple Sclerosis, stroke, Alzheimerís
disease, Parkinsonís disease, diabetes, and injuries - including
- Overflow Incontinence causes a
person to dribble or leak small amounts of urine when the bladder is
overfilled and never able to be completely emptied. Certain medications and medical
conditions like diabetes or Multiple Sclerosis may affect nerves and
muscles that would normally indicate to a person when the bladder is full
and then allow for successful emptying.
Tumors, kidney stones, and an enlarged prostate can also block the
flow of urine, which will keep the bladder full and cause overflow
- Functional Incontinence is a
little different because it occurs when a person who has full control over
their bladder is unable to reach the bathroom in time due to poor
mobility, poor eyesight, confusion, inability to communicate the need to
use a toilet, unwillingness to use the toilet due to a mental health
disorder or intoxication, or inability to time a trip to the bathroom
correctly. Common medical
conditions in the elderly associated with functional incontinence include
dementia (such as Alzheimerís disease), arthritis, and vision problems. A person of any age who is recovering
from surgery or, for example, has a broken leg and canít move around
easily may also have functional incontinence.
- Mixed Incontinence is a
combination of two different types of incontinence. Stress and urge incontinence are the
most typical combination.
The first thing a person should do if they think that they
are suffering from urinary incontinence is to see their doctor. A general practitioner may diagnose them
with a type of incontinence and/or refer them to a specialist for further examination. Although many people feel uncomfortable
discussing incontinence with their doctor, itís important to remember that this
is a common medical condition and if there is an underlying cause, it should be
treated promptly. After a diagnosis is
made, treatment options can be given to cure or manage urinary incontinence.
Depending on the type of urinary incontinence and the
underlying cause, different suggestions may be given by a doctor to manage the
condition. Women with weak pelvic
muscles may be encouraged to do Kegal exercises to help relieve stress
incontinence. If urge incontinence is
caused by an infection, antibiotics may clear the issue up entirely. People with blockages causing overflow
incontinence like tumors, kidney stones, or enlarged prostates may require
medication or surgery to remove the blockage.
Functional incontinence in individuals who have difficulty
getting to the bathroom quickly can benefit from bedside commodes or mobility
assistance. Those suffering from
Alzheimerís disease or other forms of dementia that can lead to confusion and
forgetfulness may do well with a caregiver reminding them to use the toilet
regularly and helping them find their way if they indicate that they need to