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Types of Urinary Incontinence

There are six types of loss of bladder or bowel control. Each type has a varying types of symptoms and common causes. They range from light to heavy and also can be just a few drops of urine to full loss of bowel/bladder. They are listed below from lightest to the heaviest types of incontinence.


Symptoms can include leakage when coughing, sneezing, exercising, or laughing. This could include involuntary loss of a few drops. A very common side effect is anxiety and emotional/physical strains in our day-to-day lives.

Common causes could include strenuous physical activities or loss of muscle tone. Also pregnancy or childbirth, pelvic surgery or trauma, and enlarged prostates are causes people experience.


Symptoms can include an overactive bladder, rushing to the bathroom or the awareness that you need to go to the bathroom. Also a frequent very strong urge to go to the bathroom however you cannot make it to the bathroom.

Bladder irritants such as alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated drinks are some common causes. Medications, urinary tract infections, cancer, and any changes in hormonal balance in women. Nerve dysfunction associated with trauma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries and Alzheimer’s are also common causes.


Symptoms can be a combination of two or more types, such as stress and urge incontinence. Intentionally urinating frequently in order to prevent stress related leakage can sometimes actually shrink the bladder which limits its ability to hold more urine.

Mixed incontinence is caused when symptoms of both stress and urge incontinence are present.


The symptoms associated with reflex incontinence include urine loss with no warning and not being able to tell when you need to urinate.

The most common causes are due to having a stroke, brain tumors and spinal cord injuries.


Symptoms include having a full bladder and it feels like it’s never empty. Often times there will be a constant dribble of urine. Frequency and urgency of urinate can increase.

Overflow incontinence can be caused by a bladder injury or pelvic surgeries. Nerve damage from diabetes, the narrowing of the urethra and medications can also be causes.


The symptoms related to functional incontinence are when the urinary system may work well, but factors outside the urinary tract, such as immobility or cognitive impairment, can prevent a person from getting to a bathroom in time.

Common causes include physical and mental disabilities, such as immobility or cognitive impairments. Also environmental barriers, such as stairs, clothing, or wheelchair accessibility.




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