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What Is The Difference Between Urge Urinary Incontinence & Functional Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is a loss of bladder control, means an individual urinates when he doesn’t want to. This is not only a medical problem rather affects emotional, psychological and social life. Urinary continence occurs when the urinary sphincter is either lost or loses its efficiency to function normally.

This is the commonest problems among older adults or well as in people who have an illness. Perhaps one quarter or male and female in the United States suffer from this condition. Medical studies estimate that urinary continence is more common in female than the male population. Women around the age of 30-60 are most prone to this infection.

What Is The Difference Between Urge Urinary Incontinence & Functional Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary continence occurs when the muscle in the bladder contracts more than usual making an urge in the individual to urinate. However, when it comes to functional urinary continence, the muscles around your urethra become too weak to prevent the urine in your bladder from escaping.

Millions of adults older than 50 years of age in the United States suffer from urinary continence and they are treated through medications. Apparently, functional urinary incontinence is treated through simple behavioral treatments such as bladder training and pelvic muscle exercises.4

Different Types Of Urinary Incontinence

Stress incontinence– Stress incontinence arises during simple physical activities such as coughing, sneezing, running or heavy lifting. These activities can lead to accidental urine leakage. Stress incontinence occurs when there is a sudden pressure on the bladder and urethra, causing the sphincter muscles to open briefly.

Urge Incontinence– If you have a sudden need to urinate – and you involuntarily leak wherever and whenever, the bladder contracts when it shouldn’t, then this condition is referred to as urge incontinence. This condition arises when you have an unstable or overactive bladder.

Overflow Incontinence-It is the involuntary leakage of urine that occurs due to a weak bladder muscle when the bladder is overfull though the person does not have the urge to urinate. Overflow incontinence is a type of urine loss associated with overdistension of the bladder. This condition occurs when you are unable to completely empty your bladder which eventually results in overflow and ultimately leaks out unexpectedly.

Total Incontinence- Also known as the leaky bladder, this is the continuous and total loss of urinary control, either continuous leakage or periodic uncontrolled emptying of the bladder’s contents. Total incontinence occurs due to a neurological problem that prevents the bladder from emptying as it should.1

Urinary Continence – Symptoms And Causes

Urinary incontinence can vary from dripping a small quantity of urine (during activities such as coughing or laughing) to having very strong urges to urinate that are often tough to restrain. This situation is perhaps quite embarrassing for the individuals when they wet their underpants, but it can be treated. Some of the typical symptoms are

  • Leaking urine when performing activities
  • Leaking urine without having an urge to release
  • Unable to hold your bladder until you reach the toilet
  • Wetting bed during sleep

They are very common among women when their pelvic floor muscles are weakened. This happens due to certain life events and health issues, especially during pregnancy and childbirth. This also occurs during trauma or injury and menopause.2

Functional Incontinence – Symptoms And Causes

Functional incontinence is often related to a physical, intellectual or environmental issue. Perhaps these are some of the leading factors for incontinence in a person with normal bladder function. This is the result of problems controlling the bladder. Possible causes of functional incontinence include


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 14, 2019

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