Incontinence is a life-altering condition that affects more than 25 million people in the United States. People with incontinence suffer from partial or complete loss of bladder and/or bowel control. Incontinence is frequently caused by other medical issues, such as bladder or bowel infections, Spina Bifida, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, spinal cord injury, surgery, childbirth and much more. It can also result from certain medications.
In order to gain control and better manage incontinence, it can be helpful to understand why it happens. Incontinence can be divided into the following categories, or types:
Urge Incontinence (overactive bladder): A bladder muscle contraction gives the sudden, intense urge to urinate, followed by involuntary urination (sometimes with only a few seconds’ warning). Urge incontinence can be caused by urinary tract infections, bladder or bowel infections, strokes, blood clots, brain injury, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and more.
Stress Incontinence: A weakened sphincter muscle causes involuntary urine leakage when the bladder is “stressed” by coughing, laughing, sneezing, exercising or lifting a heavy weight. Stress incontinence can be caused by childbirth, menopause, UTIs, urological sugery, prostate surgery, radiation, or simply aging.
Overflow Incontinence: A bladder that is unable to be completely emptied, leading to a constantly full bladder from which urine frequently overflows. Overflow incontinence can be caused by an obstruction in the bladder or urethra, prostate gland problems, bladder damage, or nerve damage from diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis or spinal cord injury.
Functional Incontinence: The urinary system functions normally, but for other reasons (physical, mental) the individual can’t make it to the bathroom in time. Functional incontinence can be caused by severe arthritis, muscle weakness, injury, Alzheimer’s, dementia, depression and more.
Iatrogenic Incontinence: Incontinence as a side-effect of certain drugs. Drugs that can cause iatrogenic incontinence include some muscle relaxants, nervous system blockers, and antihistamines.
Mixed Incontinence: Symptoms of one or more types of incontinence, such as stress incontinence and urge incontinence
Total Incontinence: Not a category type, but a term that refers to complete loss of urinary control. Symptoms include continuous passing of urine, both day and night.
Some types of incontinence are permanent, while others may be treatable or even curable. Your doctor will determine the best treatment options for you, depending on its type, severity and underlying cause. Learn more about the many treatment options for incontinence.
For more information about bladder health, visit the Total Home Care Supplies Bladder Matters Community or the National Association for Continence. To shop for incontinence products, visit TotalHomeCareSupplies.com.