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Urinary Incontinence: Losing Control of Your Bladder

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Did you know that there are several types of incontinence many people have to contend with on a daily basis? Incontinence is more common among adults than you may think. Below we will share with you the four general types of incontinence.

Stress Incontinence is the result of weakened pelvic floor muscles which is commonly seen in women as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. However, you could also acquire this type of incontinence from being overweight or obese, having had surgery on or around your bladder, such as resection of the prostate, and as a side effect of certain medications.

Stress incontinence occurs when there is “stress” or pressure, put on your bladder. Some of these stressors that can create accidental leakage of urine include:

  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • laughing
  • standing up or changing position
  • lifting heavy objects
  • exercise or years of high impact activities
  • sexual relations
  • excessive consumption of caffeine or alcohol
  • hormonal deficiencies

Urge Incontinence is commonly known as overactive bladder where nervous tissue or smooth muscle within or surrounding the bladder has been damaged. This abnormality causes the urge to get to the bathroom immediately. It is common to have both stress and urge incontinence which together are coined mixed urinary incontinence.

Urge incontinence may be due to:

  • urinary tract infections (UTI)
  • bladder irritants
  • bowel problems
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • stroke
  • damaged/injured nervous system
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Overflow incontinence is an inability to empty your bladder appropriately resulting in bladder leakage. This type of incontinence is characterized by the sensation of feeling as though you never completely emptied your bladder after urinating.

Overflow incontinence may occur with:

  • weak/damaged bladder
  • blocked urethra
  • nerve damage
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • spinal cord injury
  • prostate gland problems
  • constipation
  • medical conditions such tumors causing obstruction of urine flow

Functional incontinence is usually seen in older adults who require assistance with activities of daily living and are unable physically to get to the bathroom in time, or require assistance from another individual to get to the bathroom.

Functional incontinence occurs because of:

  • severe arthritis
  • physical impairment
  • mental impairment (most commonly forms of dementia)

The above information was sourced from Mayo Clinic and WebMD. Please see the below links for more information on the forms of incontinence:


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