Forms of Incontinence

Forms of Incontinence

The most common forms of incontinence are:

    • Stress incontinence
    • Urge incontinence
    • Overflow incontinence
    • Mixed incontinence: a combination of stress incontinence and urge incontinence

Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence is characterised by the loss of small amounts of urine when coughing, sneezing, exercising etc. It is usually caused by pelvic floor muscle weakness: the urethra is supported by the fascia of the pelvic floor and, when the pelvic floor muscles are weakened, the urethra can move downwards resulting in stress incontinence.

Stress incontinence is often caused by pregnancy and child birth, or occasionally by damaged sphincter muscles, and is nearly always improved by doing regular pelvic floor muscle exercises, often called Kegel exercises.

 

Urge Incontinence

Urge incontinence is when a patient experiences a sudden, strong urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine. It is also called “urgency”, “overactive bladder” (OAB) or “frequency”, as sufferers often have to visit the toilet more frequently.

The cause is often not known, although it is sometimes caused by urinary tract infection (UTI). In men it can be due to enlargement of the prostate.

 

Overflow Incontinence

Overflow incontinence sufferers experience regular or constant leaking of urine caused by the bladder not empting properly and remaining full all the time. Overflow incontinence can be treated with the use of catheters, medication or sometimes surgery. Possible causes include:

  • Weak bladder muscles (detrusor)
  • Urinary tract obstruction
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Vaginal prolapse
  • Tumours
  • Decreased neural signals to/from the bladder (“autonomic neuropathy”)

 

Reflex Bladder

Reflex bladder is an unusual condition whereby patients have no control over emptying at all. It is caused by having reduced or conflicting neural messages between the brain and the bladder and can be caused by diabetes, neural diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries.

 

Structural Incontinence

Structural incontinence is a rare condition where the structure of the renal system is impaired. This might be due to a birth defect where the organs did not form correctly in the womb, or as a result of injury or trauma.

 

Functional Incontinence

Functional incontinence is the name given to the situation where a person’s faculties are all in order but they cannot physically get to a bathroom when they need to. This might be due to a disability, poor mobility or poor dexterity, and is often treated via indwelling catheterisation or pads.

 

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Designed For You

Flexicare has a wide selection of products available to help you maintain an active, healthy lifestyle.

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