Urinary incontinence affects 25 million adult Americans, according to the National Foundation for Continence. Although the loss of bladder control is a common health concern, it isn’t easy to live with. Both men and women experience urinary incontinence. Due to anatomical differences and childbirth, it’s more common in women than in men.
There are five different types of urinary incontinence. Do you know all five?
1. Urge Incontinence
If you feel a sudden, intense urge to urinate, followed by an involuntary loss of urine, you are experiencing urge incontinence. The urge to urinate is impossible to ignore. Having to use the bathroom without much notice can lead to leaks or accidents.
Urge incontinence is caused by bladder muscles that contract at the wrong time. This is due to a miscommunication between your bladder and your brain. Your bladder incorrectly tells your brain that it’s full.
Living with urge incontinence can make life difficult. You may find yourself planning your days around having access to a bathroom, which can be limiting and frustrating.
Urge incontinence can be caused by a minor infection or something more serious, like a neurologic disorder or diabetes.
Fortunately, there are many treatment options. Biofeedback therapy allows you to gain control over involuntary bodily functions, like bladder muscle contractions. Exercises like Kegels can build strength in the muscles that support the bladder and urethra, which will improve urges. Some medications can be used to treat urge incontinence.
2. Stress Incontinence
Stress incontinence is when pressure put on the bladder causes urine leaks. Sneezing, coughing, laughing, or exercising put pressure on the bladder. Stress incontinence doesn’t always lead to an accident.
Pregnant women or women who have given birth often experience stress incontinence. The urinary system experiences pressure (or damage) during pregnancy and childbirth.
3. Mixed Incontinence
Mixed incontinence is a combination of urge and stress incontinence. It causes urgency and leakage when physically forced. It is due to a weak pelvic floor or other health concerns. Working with your urologist can find the cause. Botox bladder injections and medication can help.
4. Functional Incontinence
When a physical or mental impairment keeps you from making it to a bathroom in time, you are experiencing functional incontinence. This type of incontinence can range from a small leak to fully emptying the bladder. It is not associated with health issues related to the urinary system. Elderly people often experience this type of incontinence.
Treatment for functional incontinence includes improving physical and mental function so you can use the bathroom independently.
5. Overflow Incontinence
When your bladder doesn’t fully empty, you can experience frequent or constant dribbling of urine. This is overflow incontinence. If you can’t completely empty your bladder, it will remain full. As the kidneys process urine, the excess overflows and exits the body through the urethra.
Overflow incontinence can happen without warning. People with overflow incontinence often experience frequent urinary tract infections. Urine that remains in the bladder allows bacteria to grow.
This type of incontinence occurs more often in men, especially those who have enlarged prostate. Treatment addresses the enlarged prostate. This can include blockage removal, catheter placement, and medications. Kegels and pelvic muscle exercises can also help treat overflow incontinence.
All types of incontinence are hard to live with. If you’re dealing with any type of incontinence, schedule an appointment today.