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What are the different types of urinary incontinence?

August 30, 2018

Urinary incontinence might not be a life-limiting condition to have, but one thing is for sure, it is not always the easiest to live with. It can have an impact on how you feel about yourself, your confidence, and also how able you feel to be out and about with family and friends. It can leave you avoiding social situations and feeling embarrassed about it.

There are companies out there that are dedicated to helping people with any form of urinary incontinence to claim back their life. Companies such as HARTMANN Direct, however, understanding more about your own condition, can give you some clues on how best to manage it.

What are the different types of urinary incontinence?

This article is going to cover the different types of urinary incontinence, what causes them and what are the main symptoms.

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Stress incontinence

Stress incontinence is when urine leaks from your urethra due to you coughing, laughing or sneezing. It is caused when the pressure of your bladder, as it fills with urine, becomes greater than the pressure that is on your urethra to stay shut. The reason that some people have stress incontinence can vary, however, it is usually always due to the fact that your pelvic muscles are weak or damaged. This can be down to childbirth, pregnancy, being overweight, or having any damage caused to the bladder by surgery such as a hysterectomy (in women) or removal of the prostate gland (in men).

You may also find that you have stress incontinence if you have a neurological condition, such as Parkinson’s, tissue disorders such as Ehler-Danlos or even depending on what medication you are taking at that time.

Urge Incontinence

If you find that your need to urinate is sudden, strong and frequent, then you may find that you have urge incontinence. This particular issue is caused by the detrusor muscles that are found in the wall of your bladder.

These muscles, when relaxed, allow the bladder to fill with urine, and then, when you need to go to the toilet, they will contract and allow for the urine to be released. If these muscles contract too often, then they will tell your bladder that it is time to go to the toilet, even if it is not full, or you have just been to the toilet.

There are a variety of reasons why you may be suffering from urge incontinence. Some find that it happens when you have drunk too much alcohol or caffeinated drinks and some can find it occurs when they are constipated.

Another common, but perhaps surprising reason for urge incontinence is because you haven’t drunk enough fluid during the day. This will mean that the urine that is within your bladder is more concentrated, causing irritation within the bladder to develop.

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Overflow Incontinence

Another type of incontinence is overflow incontinence, this is often caused by a blockage or an obstruction in your bladder. Whilst your bladder will fill up as normal, when it comes to emptying it, the obstruction can stop this from happening fully. Over time, the urine that is still in your bladder, unable to be cleared, will build up behind the obstruction, causing pressure and also frequent leaks from your bladder too.

There are a number of reasons that you may have overflow incontinence. Some people can find it due to constipation (which will put pressure on your bladder) others may have bladder stones that need to be cleared.

Men may also find that their overflow incontinence is caused by an enlarged prostate gland, therefore, if you are finding yourself with this issue, then it is vital that you go to the doctor to ahve it checked.

Total Incontinence

Finally, we have total incontinence, which means that your bladder is unable to hold any urine at all. This means that you are either passing large amounts of urine on a seemingly constant basis, or you manage to pass urine occasionally, however you have a frequent problem with leaks.

If you have total incontinence then there is a good chance that you may have had this issue since birth, however, total incontinence can also be caused by an injury to your spinal cord, as well as a bladder fistula, which is a small tunnel like hole which can form between your bladder and a nearby area (such as a vagina).

No matter the symptoms that you are showing, no matter the suspected form of incontinence that you may have, the main thing is to always speak to your doctor. Not only can they identify the problem, but they can also give you recommendations on things that you can do to make it better and get your life back on track.

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