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Types of Urinary Incontinence

Types of Urinary Incontinence

Types of Urinary Incontinence

Types of urinary incontinence fall into four categories, and each one has similarities and differences. It is important to identify the type of urinary incontinence, because successful treatment for urinary incontinence depends on knowing the type of incontinence being treated. The four main types of urinary incontinence are:

  • Stress incontinence occurs when you place pressure on the bladder, which can occur when you laugh, sneeze, exercise, lift heavy objects, engage in sex, or participate in other activities that can stress the bladder.
  • Urge incontinence is a condition in which individuals experience an urge to urinate that is so strong they can’t reach a toilet in time. Among the types of urinary incontinence is a form of urge incontinence called overactive bladder. This type of urinary incontinence occurs when the bladder muscle contracts at inappropriate times, even if there is only a small amount of urine in the bladder. Not everyone who has an overactive bladder experience urine leakage.
  • Overflow incontinence occurs when you cannot empty your bladder completely. Over time, urine accumulates in the bladder and can overflow, resulting in leakage.
  • Total incontinence is the most severe of the types of urinary incontinence. It involves the complete loss of control of urination, resulting in urine leaks all the time.

Another type of urine leakage, and not actually one of the types of urinary incontinence, is called functional incontinence. Functional incontinence is rare and occurs in men who have normal bladder function, but they have a physical or mental condition that prevents them from reaching a toilet in time.

See also

Vitamin A, Carotenoids Reduce Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms

7 Natural Ways to Treat Urinary Incontinence

Incontinence after Surgery for BPH


Urinary incontinence is a symptom of an underlying
condition. The National Association For Continence estimates that 25 million adult Americans
are incontinent.

STRESS INCONTINENCE Involuntary urine loss due to increased physical pressure on the bladder.
URGE INCONTINENCE Strong, sudden need to urinate immediately followed by a bladder contraction,
resulting in involuntary loss of urine.
MIXED INCONTINENCE Both stress and urge incontinence are present.
OVERFLOW INCONTINENCE Involuntary loss of urine due to overdistension of the bladder.
TOTAL INCONTINENCE Involuntary urine loss due to detrusor hyperreflexia and/or involuntary urethral
UTI or urinary tract inflammationProstate infection or inflammationStool impaction

Increased urine volume


Weight gain


Mental confusion


Spinal injuriesAnatomical abnormalitiesNeurological disease or disorders

Sphincter damage

Pelvic prolapse

Enlarged prostate

CNS disorders

Bladder cancer

Bladder spasms

(revised 4/2004)


Site last updated 26 October, 2016



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