Types Of Urinary Incontinence

There are several different types of urinary incontinence:
  • Stress incontinence
    Leakage of small amounts of urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising, lifting…
  • Urge incontinence
    Leakage of large amounts of urine at unexpected times, including during sleep.
  • Functional incontinence
    Leakage because of physical or mental disability or external obstacles.
  • Overflow incontinence
    Unexpected leakage of small amounts of urine due to a overfilled bladder.
  • Mixed incontinence
    Occurrence of more types of incontinence together.
  • Transient incontinence
    Temporary leakage due to a condition that will pass (medications, restricted mobility, etc…).


Stress incontinence

People with stress incontinence usually experience leakage when coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising, lifting or performing other kinds of activity that puts pressure on the bladder.

Stress incontinence is most often a result of weakened muscles that control the bladder. It is the most common form of incontinence in women. It is often caused by physical changes resulting from pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. In men stress incontinence is a common problem following a prostatectomy. More than half of all incontinence cases in both men and women are believed to be stress incontinence.

Urge incontinence

Urge incontinence, also called overactive bladder or reflex incontinence, occurs when the need to urinate comes on too fast -- before you can get to a toilet. It results from overactive nerves controlling the bladder.

Involuntary actions of bladder muscles can occur from several reasons: nerve damage, bladder muscle damage, infections that irritate the bladder or urethra, constipation, stroke, spinal core injury, dementia and diseases that affect the nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis.

People with urge incontinence can empty their bladder during sleep, after drinking water or even when hearing water running.

Overflow incontinence

Overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder does not empty all the way during voiding, thus becoming overfilled, resulting in urin dribble or leak.

This type of incontinence is caused by weak bladder muscles, blocked urethra, nerve damage or diseases that can lead to weak bladder muscles. Diabetes or certain medicines may also cause the problem.

Overflow incontinence is more common in men due to the enlarged prostate gland or tumor.

People with this kind of incontinence may feel like they can't completely empty their bladder and may strain when urinating.

Functional incontinence

Functional incontinence is leakage in a person who has difficulty reaching a toilet in time because of a physical or mental disorder. For example: Alzheimer's disease, artritis or other diseases that make it hard to move around, thus perventing one to reach a toilet in time.

Conditions such as these are often associated with age, which means that fuctional incontinence is most common in elderly.

People with functional incontinence usualy have normal bladder control, because leakage is caused by other health problems.

Mixed incontinence

Many people experience different types of incontinence at different times or under different circumstances. Mixed incontinence is a combination of several types of incontinence, usually stress and urge incontinence. The causes of the two or more forms may or may not be related.

Transient incontinence

Transient incontinence is a term explaining a temporary version of incontinence. It can be caused by many different factors: medications, restricted mobility, severe constipation, toilet unavailabilty and other.