What Is Reflex Urinary Incontinence & What Is Stress Urinary Incontinence?

Reflex urinary incontinence is the condition in which involuntary contraction of the muscle of the bladder leads to the leakage of urine from the bladder. In this condition, a large amount of urine is leaked without an urge. It affects both men and women equally. People who have neurological problems are more likely to develop this type of incontinence. Stress incontinence is represented by leakage of urine caused by involuntary physical stress or pressure on the bladder. Physical stress weakens the pelvic floor muscles resulting in extra pressure on the bladder. It can be triggered by strenuous physical activities such as coughing, sneezing, lifting heavy loads, labor pains, exercises, etc.

What Is Reflex Urinary Incontinence & What Is Stress Urinary Incontinence?

There are:

Reflex Urinary Incontinence

Reflex urinary incontinence is a type of urinary incontinence marked by leakage of large amounts of urine due to the involuntary spasm of bladder muscle without an urge to urinate. It affects both men and women equally. Its incidences are more common in people who suffer from neurological impairment.(1)

Reflex incontinence occurs due to improper functioning of the bladder muscle named detrusor muscle. It signals the body to urinate even if the bladder is not full. It is because of the involuntary spasm of the detrusor muscle. It occurs due to nerve damage that disrupts the flow of information between the brain and the bladder muscle when the bladder is not filled. It is most common in people who have a serious neurological impairment that may happen due to spinal cord injuries, surgical damage, multiple sclerosis or radiation therapy.(1)

Its diagnosis is confirmed by full physical examination, medical history, and diagnostic tests such as a urinalysis, cough stress test, urine culture, pelvic exam (in women), pelvic floor assessment, blood test, post-void residual urine assessment, urodynamic testing, and cystoscopy. Its treatment is based on the severity of the symptoms and its influences on patients’ life. It can be managed with bladder training, double voiding, scheduled bathroom breaks, and pelvic muscle exercises such as Kegel exercises.(1)

Stress Urinary Incontinence

Stress urinary incontinence is a type of urinary incontinence characterized by leakage of urine due to involuntary physical stress on the bladder. It occurs only due to physical stress placed on the bladder, not due to mental stress. But, it may cause emotional stress and embarrassment.(2) Only physical strain elevates the pressure on the abdomen leading to stress or pressure on the bladder. It is more commonly seen in women who have undergone vaginal delivery. The birth-giving process exerts pressure on the pelvic muscles and nerves that may weaken the urethra leading to leakage.(4)

Stress urinary incontinence is induced by stressful activities of every day that include coughing, sneezing, lifting heavy loads, vaginal delivery, exercises like jogging or jumping, pelvic surgery, weak muscles due to other medical ailments, etc. It causes urine leakage after these activities.(2)

Stress urinary incontinence occurs due to damage or weakening of the urethral sphincter or pelvic muscles or both. It renders pressure on the bladder during the above mentioned physical activities leading to urine leakage.(3)

Stress urinary incontinence is detected when your doctor analyses your symptoms, medical history and diagnostic tests such as urinalysis, cystoscopy, etc. It is treated with biofeedback physical therapy, medication, surgery and exercises such as kegel exercises.(2) Lifestyle modification, stress relief and exercises that release pressure on the pelvic muscles may help to resolve this condition.(3)

Conclusion

Reflex urinary incontinence is the type of urinary incontinence in which leakage of large amounts of urine even if the bladder is not full. It is caused due to serious nerve damage rendered to the nerves supplying the urinary tract. Stress urinary incontinence is a type of urinary incontinence that happens due to excessive abdominal pressure experienced after strenuous physical activity.

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