What is Incontinence?
Incontinence refers to the involuntary loss of urine from the bladder or feces from the bowel.
The loss of urine from the bladder is known as Urinary Incontinence whereas the loss of feces from the bowel is known as Fecal Incontinence. The extend of involuntary leakage of urine or feces varies across individuals that are incontinent.
Types & Causes of Urinary Incontinence
The 4 main types of Urinary Incontinence are Stress Incontinence, Urge Incontinence, Overflow Incontinence, and Functional Incontinence.
1. Stress Incontinence: leakage of urine when pressure is exerted on the bladder from activities such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, and exercising.
Stress Incontinence is caused by the weakening of the pelvic floor support from pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause. Other conditions such as being overweight or obese, taking certain medication, and blockage from an enlarged prostate in men can also lead to Stress Incontinence.
2. Urge Incontinence: an uncontrollable urge to urinate. Urge Incontinence is also known as overactive bladder (OAB).
Causes of overactive bladder include damage to the bladder's nerve, damage to other parts of the nervous system, and damage to muscles as well as aging.
Medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and stroke can affect the bladder's nerve Infections, bladder stones and certain medications can affect the bladder. These could cause Urge Incontinence.
3. Overflow Incontinence: inability to empty the bladder, resulting in constant dribbling of urine. Overflow Incontinence is also known as Chronic Urinary Retention.
Overflow Incontinence can also be caused by weak bladder muscles, nerve damage, constipation, taking certain medication, and blockage from an enlarged prostate in men.
4. Functional Incontinence: inability to reach the toilet in time due to a physical or cognitive impairment such as dementia or arthritis.
Some people may have symptoms of both stress incontinence and urge incontinence. This combination is referred to as Mixed Incontinence.