Types of Incontinence
Urinary incontinence affects about 25 million Americans Not all cases or symptoms are the same. There are several different types of urinary incontinence.
Stress incontinence may happen when there is an increase in abdominal pressure -- such as when you exercise, laugh, sneeze, or cough. Urine leaks due to weakened pelvic floor muscles and tissues.
Causes of stress incontinence include pregnancy and childbirth, which cause stretching and weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. Other factors may also increase the risk for stress incontinence, such as being overweight, obesity, prostate surgery, and certain medications.
Urge incontinence is often referred to as overactive bladder: You have an urgent need to go to the bathroom and may not get there in time, leaking urine.
Causes of overactive bladder include:
- Damage to the bladder's nerves
- Damage to the nervous system
- Damage to muscles
Conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and stroke can affect nerves, leading to urge incontinence. Other conditions such as bladder infections, bladder stones, and use of certain medications can also contribute to symptoms.
Some women have both of these types of urinary incontinence -- stress and urge. Doctors call this mixed urinary incontinence.
You may have overflow incontinence if you are not able to empty your bladder appropriately. As a result, you may have leakage once the bladder is already full. This is more common in men with symptoms of frequent dribbling of urine.
Causes of overflow incontinence include:
- Weak bladder muscles
- Blockage of the urethra, such as by prostate enlargement
- Medical conditions such as tumors causing obstruction of urine flow
With functional incontinence, physical problems such as arthritis, or cognitive problems such as dementia prevent you from getting to the bathroom in time.