Types of Urinary Incontinence

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Types of Urinary Incontinence

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* London Health Sciences Centre , a SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU. charity partner.

What is Urinary Incontinence?

Approximately 3.5 million Canadians suffer from urinary incontinence (urine leakage). 95% are women. Many individuals believe that this is a natural part of aging and are embarrassed to talk about urine leakage.

Incontinence is often dealt with through the use of feminine hygiene pads or avoiding activities that may cause an 'accident'. Often women begin to change their daily routine to revolve around the location of the nearest washroom. All of these factors can greatly decrease their quality of life.

Health professionals have known for a long time that incontinence is NOT an inevitable part of aging. There is usually an underlying physical cause. Early diagnosis and treatment can greatly reduce or even eliminate the problem. Even when incontinence has been a problem for a long time there is still the possibility for successful treatment.

Types of Urinary Incontinence

1. Stress Incontinence

There are muscles in the floor of the pelvis and around the opening of the bladder that work together to hold urine from leaking out. Stress incontinence occurs when these muscles get weak or do not work properly. With stress incontinence you may notice leaking when you:

Lift heavy objects

Stress incontinence can be related to:

Chronic coughing

2. Urge Incontinence

Urge incontinence occurs when there is a strong desire to void and the inability to wait or to get to a toilet in time. This happens because the bladder spasms and squeezes without warning or control.

Urge incontinence can be related to:

Not emptying your bladder often enough
Bladder infection
Inflammation of the bladder
Overactive bladder nerves and muscles

3. Overflow Incontinence

Overflow incontinence happens when the bladder becomes overly full and involuntarily releases urine. This happens when the bladder muscle is too weak to empty the bladder completely or when there is an obstruction that blocks the urethra.

Overflow incontinence can be related to:

Weakness of the bladder muscle
Certain medications
Conditions that affect the nervous system
Blockage of the urinary tract

4. Functional Incontinence

Functional incontinence describes situations where bladder function is normal but continence is complicated by issues such as:

Barriers to the toilet
Lack of mobility
Trouble removing clothing

5. Mixed Incontinence

Mixed incontinence is when a person experiences more than one type of incontinence at the same time.

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