Different Types of Incontinence

Did you know that 50% or more of American men and women over age 65 have some form of urinary incontinence? This is a condition where you’re unable to hold your urine until you’re ready to use the restroom. It can cause leaks and sometimes lead to a full loss of control of your bladder. 

If you’re one of the 13 million people in the United States suffering from the frustration and embarrassment urinary incontinence brings, the team at Urological Associates can help. Our team of experienced providers has helped men and women in Charlottesville, Virginia, overcome urinary incontinence. But the first step is understanding what type of incontinence you have.  

What are the types of incontinence?

There are several main types of incontinence: stress urinary incontinence, urgency urinary incontinence (or overactive bladder), and overflow incontinence. Some men and women have a combination of different types, called mixed urinary incontinence. 

Stress urinary incontinence

The most common type of urinary incontinence is called stress incontinence. The people most affected by stress incontinence are younger women. This is because stress incontinence results due to the weakening of the muscles that support your bladder and urethra, which causes urine to leak when any pressure is placed on the bladder. 

If you have stress urinary incontinence, you may notice that you leak small amounts of urine when you laugh, cough, or engage in impact exercises, like running, jumping, or dancing. This type of incontinence affects women more often due to the physical stress of pregnancy and childbirth and age-related vaginal atrophy as the walls of the vagina become weak, thin, and dry. 

Overactive bladder 

Less common than stress incontinence is urgency incontinence, also called urge incontinence or overactive bladder. This is most often seen in older women. With an overactive bladder, you may notice a sudden strong and desperate need to urinate. Since this urge is so strong, it often leads to leaks — even when your bladder doesn’t have much in it! 

Overactive bladder is caused when the muscles that control your bladder “misfire.” Before your bladder is full, your bladder muscle (detrusor) begins to contract. This sends a signal to your body that you need to urinate, even when you physically don’t. This is called “detrusor overactivity.” 

Many possible conditions can cause detrusor overactivity, including neurological disease, abnormal nerve activity, brain damage, muscle spasms, and diabetes. For most people, however, overactive bladder won’t have an identifiable cause.

Overflow incontinence

Overflow incontinence occurs when you can’t completely empty your bladder when you urinate. The result is that small amounts of urine leak out after you urinate because the bladder can’t hold the amount of urine being produced.

Some people feel the need to urinate as the dribbling or leakage occurs, but many do not, resulting in embarrassing moments or the need to wear protective pads. With this type of incontinence, you may also have trouble starting to urinate, get up many times at night to urinate, and get urinary tract infections more frequently. 

While urinary incontinence overall is more prevalent in women than men, men are more likely to have this type of incontinence.  

Which type of incontinence do I have?

If you have urinary incontinence, it’s important to share your symptoms with your provider at Urological Associates. Our team uses different tests to evaluate and identify your condition. Which test we use depends on your symptoms, but may include:

Keeping a urination diary can also be helpful. In it, keep track of things like how often you leak urine, how frequently you urinate, and your intake of fluids. This information may help the team at Urological Associates identify patterns in your symptoms.

How is incontinence treated?

At Urological Associates, we customize your treatment plan to address your unique incontinence needs. Your treatment plan may include a variety or combination of options, such as:

Surgical intervention may be required if other treatments don’t alleviate your symptoms. The team at Urological Associates is committed to helping you regain control of your bladder and your life with the right treatment modalities for your case. 

Learn more about the different types of incontinence by meeting with an experienced provider at Urological Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia. Contact us today to book an appointment.

You Might Also Enjoy...

4 Encouraging Facts About Kidney Cancer

Nearly 80,000 US men and women are diagnosed with kidney cancer each year, making it the 10th most common cancer in America. If you or someone you love has kidney cancer, keep reading to learn 4 encouraging facts about this disease.

Managing Your Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder (OAB) causes you to feel like you’ve lost control over your bladder, leading to leaks and urgent trips to the bathroom and making it difficult to get through your daily activities. Here’s a look at how you can manage your OAB.

A Closer Look at UroLift®

If you’re struggling with the uncomfortable and frustrating symptoms an enlarged prostate causes, the UroLift® System could help. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about this innovative treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

Who's at Risk for Bladder Cancer?

Tens of thousands of new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed each year, making it the fourth most common type of cancer diagnosed in American men. Learn who’s at risk and what you can do to keep your bladder healthy.

Healthy Habits That Support Your Bladder

Keeping your bladder healthy goes a long way toward preventing bladder cancer and other urinary tract-related problems. Here are our top healthy habits for supporting bladder health.