6 Types of Urinary Incontinence

The prevalence of urinary incontinence in the United States is significant — approximately 17 million people struggle daily with bladder control issues, and 33 million have a condition known as overactive bladder.

At Arizona Urology, our team of urology experts understands the magnitude of the problem and we’re here to help. One of the first steps in combating urinary incontinence is to figure out which type you have, which dictates your treatment moving forward.

To help narrow the field, we’re taking this opportunity to discuss the six main types of urinary incontinence, starting with the two most common.

1.   Stress incontinence

You laugh, cough, exert yourself, or sneeze and urine leaks out as a result of the effort. Called stress incontinence, this problem occurs when you place too much pressure on your bladder, forcing urine out.

In most cases, stress incontinence is a result of a weakened urethral sphincter and/or pelvic floor muscles, which can be caused by any number of issues, such as age, pregnancy, or injury.

2.   Urge incontinence

This type of incontinence is also called overactive bladder (OAB) and occurs when you have an urge to urinate despite the fact that your bladder may not be full. This urge is often strong enough that you can’t make it to the bathroom in time.

Urge incontinence often develops on the heels of:

In many cases, OAB develops for no known reasons, but we do know that risk factors, such as aging, can play a role.

3.   Mixed incontinence

If you display symptoms of stress incontinence and urge incontinence, we call this mixed incontinence. This problem affects women more than men — in fact, most women who experience incontinence have mixed incontinence. Men are not immune, however, as prostate issues like benign prostatic hyperplasia can lead to mixed incontinence.

4.   Overflow incontinence

If there’s a blockage that prevents your bladder from completely voiding, you may experience overflow incontinence, which is leakage that occurs with or without warning. This problem typically affects men who are dealing with prostate problems.

5.   Functional incontinence

If you have physical limitations that prevent you from reaching the toilet in time, we call this functional incontinence.

6.   Reflex incontinence

This form of incontinence typically develops as a result of neurological impairment and occurs when the muscles in your bladder contract without warning.

Treating incontinence

As you can see by the list above, our first order of business is to diagnose the exact nature of your incontinence.

Once we identify the problem, we can take the steps necessary to help you regain control over your urination, which may include:

If your incontinence is caused by another medical issue, such as a blockage or infection, we work to treat the underlying problem, which should remedy your incontinence.

If you’re tired of dealing with incontinence, please contact us at one of our five locations in Goodyear, Glendale, Gilbert, Surprise, and Phoenix, Arizona, so that we can get you on the road to relief.

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