Types of Incontinence

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  • Stress incontinence happens when urine leaks during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting heavy objects, or other body movements that put pressure on the bladder. It is the most common type of bladder control problem in younger and middle-age women. In some cases it is related to childbirth. It may also begin around the time of menopause.
  • Urge incontinence happens when people can't hold their urine long enough to get to the toilet in time. Healthy people can have urge incontinence, but it is often found in people who have diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, or multiple sclerosis. It is also sometimes an early sign of bladder cancer.
  • Overflow incontinence happens when small amounts of urine leak from a bladder that is always full. A man can have trouble emptying his bladder if an enlarged prostate is blocking the urethra. Diabetes and spinal cord injury can also cause this type of incontinence.
  • Functional incontinence happens in many older people who have normal bladder control. They just have a hard time getting to the toilet in time because of arthritis or other disorders that make moving quickly difficult.

External Source

National Association for Continence (www.nafc.org)
Simon Foundation for Continence (www.simonfoundation.org)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (www2.niddk.nih.gov)

Author: Dr. Ira Bloomfield

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