Understanding the Four Types of Incontinence

Did you know that 11% of women cite urinary incontinence as the reason they avoid sex? Urinary incontinence is an embarrassing and often inconvenient problem. You have to plan your day around your bathroom schedule, and you can’t completely relax because you don’t know if your days will be accident-free.  

Here at Broward Specialty Group in Coconut Creek, Delray Beach, and Pompano Beach, Florida, Sanjeev Gupta, MD and Christopher Vendryes, MD are dedicated urologists committed to your health. That’s why we’ve created this helpful guide on the four main types of urinary incontinence and how each is diagnosed. 

1. Stress incontinence

Stress incontinence is urine loss caused by normal aging over time and the events that occur in a woman’s life. We usually diagnose women with stress incontinence if their incontinence is caused by pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause. Any surgical trauma to your pelvic or lower back area can also result in stress incontinence. 

2. Urge incontinence

Urge incontinence is the frequent and sudden urge to urinate large volumes of urine. You can have a sudden urge to urinate without any incontinence. This means that you need to urinate frequently, but you don’t have to worry about losing control of your bladder. 

We diagnose you with urge incontinence if you have the above symptoms and your condition is caused by pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, pelvic trauma, or certain neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. 

3. Overflow incontinence 

Overflow incontinence is a condition in which you can’t sufficiently empty your bladder. As a result, your bladder is often distended, overfilled, and leaking or dribbling. We diagnose you with overflow incontinence when you have the above symptoms and your condition is caused by a spinal cord injury, diabetes, neurological damage, Parkinson’s disease, or multiple sclerosis.  

4. Functional incontinence 

Functional incontinence is often caused by physical and cognitive debilitation like immobility, traumatic brain injury, and Alzheimer’s disease. Functional incontinence isn’t caused by direct injury to the pelvis, but rather by a problem in your urinary system. 

In addition to these four main types of incontinence, you could also have mixed urinary incontinence, a combination of stress and urge incontinence. We diagnose you with mixed incontinence if you present with both symptoms of stress and urge incontinence. 

Reflex incontinence, another type that is also called spastic bladder incontinence, is most commonly caused by a spinal cord injury above your T12 vertebrae, which is located roughly midback.  

We diagnose the different types of stress incontinence as you can see above, based on your symptoms and the readable causes of your condition. Regardless of your diagnosis, we can treat your condition using methods that are specific to you and your symptoms.

To learn more about urinary incontinence and how we can treat it, call the location most convenient to you or request an appointment online with one of our urologists today.

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