Types of Incontinence

What types of incontinence or urine loss are there?

Depending on its physical cause, incontinence can be experienced in many different ways. Whatever type of incontinence your loved one has, it's important to remember that it can be successfully managed with the right products. The most common types are Stress Incontinence and Urge Incontinence, and it can also quite often be a combination of the two. The following questions can help you decide.

Does your loved one fail to make it to the bathroom on time?

Functional Incontinence is the inability to reach the bathroom in time due to lack of mobility or mental illness such as Dementia or Alzheimer's. If your loved one is bedridden, confined to a wheelchair, or just unable to move about unaided, incontinence is a very common occurrence.

Have they experienced nerve damage?

Certain medical conditions such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, a stroke, diabetes or Multiple Sclerosis can result in Neurological Bladder Disorders. This is when the brain fails to recognize the signals to urinate, often due to nerve damage caused by injury or illnesses.

Are unexpected leaks caused by physical exertion?

Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) occurs when the bladder unexpectedly leaks due to pressure from physical exertion such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, heavy lifting or exercising. Amounts of leakage tend to be small, but there can be larger urine leakages. This is the most common type of incontinence women experience.

Do they have an uncontrollable urge to urinate without warning?

This is likely to be Urge Urinary Incontinence (UUI). Urge incontinence occurs when the bladder tries to empty despite best efforts to restrain leaking. There is a lack of coordination between impulses the brain gives to the bladder and what the bladder does. This can result in quite large losses of urine and increased frequency of urination. This is the most common type of incontinence for men and is commonly linked to an enlarged prostate or prostate surgery. However it is quite common for women too.

Have they experienced more than one type?

Mixed Incontinence is a combination of more than one type of incontinence. For example, some people experience a combination of Stress and Urge Incontinence.

Have they experienced dribbling after urination?

Overflow Incontinence affects men when the bladder does not empty completely and urine collects in the end of the penis and begins to dribble out. It is usually caused by an obstruction such as fecal impaction, an enlarged prostrate, nerve damage, or an abnormality in the urethra.

Have they experienced Fecal Incontinence?

Fecal Incontinence is the involuntary passage of feces. Some causes of fecal incontinence are constipation or diarrhea, damage to the anal sphincter muscles or the rectum, loss of storage capacity in the rectum or pelvic floor dysfunction.

If your loved one has fecal incontinence you should consult a healthcare professional on treatment and management.

Now that you know all the main types of incontinence, you'll want to know what you can do to make life as comfortable as you can for your loved one, and maybe discover some practical advice from other caregivers in Advice of Caring for Loved Ones.

If none of the above types of incontinence seems to match your loved one's condition, we advise you to contact a healthcare professional to give him or her a personal assessment.

Learn about the Signs of Incontinence

Learn about the Causes of Incontinence

* The site does not offer medical advice and nothing contained in the site is intended to constitute professional advice for medical diagnosis or treatment.

I have stress incontinence with light to moderate leakage, and I rely on TENA, especially when I go out to run errands, etc

- TENA® Customer in Louisville, KY

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