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What Are The Types Of Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is characterized by involuntary leakage of urine from the bladder. Its incidence is more common in females than in males. It is more common in old age. In females, it is induced by pregnancy, labor pains, and vaginal delivery, obesity, and others. In males, it is caused after prostate surgery, pelvic fracture, physical exertion, obesity, smoking, and others. Its other causes involve diabetes, neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, urinary tract infection, certain medicines of blood pressure or heart failures, and others. It can be prevented with the help of pelvic floor exercises, bladder control exercises, and Kegel exercises.

What Are The Types Of Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is a condition in which there is involuntary leakage of urine from the bladder. It affects females more than males. It happens due to a variety of reasons. This involves stress caused during coughing, pregnancy (during and after), obesity, smoking, etc. Its risk increases with increasing age. Kegel exercises, pelvic floor exercises or bladder control exercises can help to reduce its occurrences.(1)

Stress Incontinence– stress incontinence is represented by the leakage of urine caused by any physical exertion. 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. It can also be caused by a pelvic fracture or prostrate surgery, cystic fibrosis, etc.(2)

Urge Incontinence– urge incontinence is signified by the leakage of the urine even when the bladder is not full. It happens due to overactive bladder resulted from overactive detrusor muscle. This muscle becomes overactive due to the damage caused in the nerve supply either in the brain, or in the spine or the route to the bladder resulted from diabetes, neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, or infection, etc.(2)

Mixed Incontinence– Mixed incontinence is characterized by both stress incontinence and urges incontinence. This condition is often challenging to treat. It can happen to both men and women. In men, it happens due to prostatic surgery done to remove the prostate or treat enlarged prostate.(2)

Overflow Incontinence- it is characterized by incomplete emptying of the bladder leading to the leakage of the urine without an urge to urinate. It happens either due to blockage of urine in the bladder. It can occur in both men and women. The bladder becomes overfilled and the patient does not feel the urge to urinate resulting in the leakage of urine. It is caused by the nerve damage resulted from injuries, childbirth, past surgeries, diabetes, shingles or multiple sclerosis or some medications.(2)

Functional Incontinence– incontinence developed due to improper functioning of the urinary tract due to illness or disabilities is known as functional incontinence. It is caused by mental illness such as dementia or medications that reduce one’s awareness to go to the toilet. Some medications like diuretics used for the treatment of high blood pressure or heart failure can induce this type of incontinence.(2)

Reflex Incontinence- reflex incontinence is characterized by leakage of the urine that happened even during contraction of the bladder without an urge. It occurs due to nerve damage that disrupts the flow of information between the brain and bladder when the bladder is not filled. It is seen in people who have developed serious neurological problems such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, surgical complications, or damage caused due to radiation therapy.(2)


Urine incontinence is characterized by the involuntary release of urine from the bladder without urging to urinate. It affects both men and women. It is of several types. It includes urge incontinence, stress incontinence, reflex incontinence, functional incontinence, and overflow incontinence.


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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:January 23, 2020

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