Am I incontinent? 5 types of incontinence

You may be wondering what exactly is incontinence?

Well, the exact term is ‘urinary incontinence’ and it’s the inability to control the release of urine from your bladder.

Bladder Control

For some people, this means occasional, minor leaks or dribbles of urine.

For others, it could mean wetting their underwear frequently.

When and how this happens varies depending on the type of incontinence you have.

Here are 5 types of incontinence:

Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence is when you leak urine from your bladder being under sudden pressure, such as when you cough, sneeze or laugh. It could also happen during exercise or heavy lifting.

Pregnancy, child birth and the menopause can cause stress continence in women. For men, the removal of the prostate gland can be responsible.

Urge incontinence

This is when you feel a sudden, intense pressure to urinate. Your bladder muscle contracts and gives you a warning of only a few seconds to reach a toilet.

If you have urge incontinence, you may need to urinate often, including throughout the night.

It can be caused by urinary tract infections, bladder irritants, bowel problems, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke or injury.

Overflow incontinence

This occurs when the bladder cannot completely empty when you urinate, causing the bladder to swell above its usual size.

You may feel that you can never completely empty your bladder and as a result you may frequently or constantly dribble urine.

Overflow incontinence is common in men who have an enlarged prostate gland, a damaged bladder, blocked urethra, multiple sclerosis or a spinal cord injury.

Mixed incontinence

If you experience more than one type of the symptoms listed above then you have mixed incontinence.

Total incontinence

This is severe and continuous urinary incontinence i.e. the continuous leaking of urine, day and night.  It usually occurs as a result of a bladder disorder from birth, after surgery or following an injury.

If you think that some of the symptoms described above apply to you and its affecting the quality of your life, you should seek medical advice. It may indicate a more serious underlying condition, so it’s best to double check!

You can also try kegel exercises, which have been proven to help control urinary incontinence for both men and women.

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