“Urinary incontinence — the loss of bladder control — is a common and often embarrassing problem. The severity ranges from occasionally leaking urine when you…”.1

Umbrella
What may the Urinary Incontinence Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Bladder Incontinence
  • Bladder Weakness
  • Continence
  • Incontinence
  • Light Bladder Leakage (LBL)
  • Overactive Bladder (OAB)
  • Urinary Incontinence (UI)
  • Weak Bladder

Bladder Control Problems

What are bladder control problems?

DotS the definition of bladder control problems may vary. The (United States) National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases’ (NIDDK) definition is:

“Bladder control problems are conditions that affect the way a person holds or releases urine”.2

Urinary Incontinence

What is urinary incontinence (UI)?

DotS the definition of UI may vary. The (United States) Mayo Clinic’s definition is:

“Urinary incontinence — the loss of bladder control — is a common and often embarrassing problem. The severity ranges from occasionally leaking urine when you cough or sneeze to having an urge to urinate that’s so sudden and strong you don’t get to a toilet in time”.3

Women and Men

Is UI more common in women than in men?

In the United States according to the (United States) Cleveland Clinic in Urinary Incontinence: Overview – Who Gets Urinary Incontinence?:

“Incontinence is much more common in women than in men. This is often related to pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. Each of these experiences can cause a woman’s pelvic support muscles to weaken over time”.4

Common Types

What are common types of UI?

The (United Kingdom) NHS note:

“Most people with urinary incontinence have either stress incontinence or urge incontinence”.5

Different Types

What are different types of UI?

DotS different types of UI may include:

  1. Stress Incontinence
  2. Urgency Incontinence
  3. Mixed Incontinence
  4. Functional Incontinence
  5. Overflow Incontinence
  6. Total Incontinence

1. Stress Incontinence

What is stress incontinence?

DotS the definition of stress incontinence may vary. In Bladder Control Problems (Urinary Incontinence): Definition & Facts for Bladder Control Problems (Urinary Incontinence) – What Are the Types of Bladder Control Problems? Stress Incontinence the NIDDK’s definition is:

“Stress incontinence occurs when movement—coughing, sneezing, laughing, or physical activity—puts pressure on the bladder and causes urine to leak”.6

In Urinary Incontinence In Women the Australasian Menopause Society elaborate on:

“Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is more common, affecting 1 in every 5 women. Women who have not had a baby have a 1 in 10 chance of developing SUI, while for those who have had a baby, the chance rises to approximately 1 in 3”.7

2. Urgency Incontinence

What is urgency or urge incontinence?

DotS the definition of urgency incontinence may vary. In Bladder Control Problems (Urinary Incontinence): Definition & Facts for Bladder Control Problems (Urinary Incontinence) – What Are the Types of Bladder Control Problems? Urgency Incontinence the NIDDK’s definition is:

“Urgency incontinence occurs when someone has a strong urge, or need, to urinate and leaks before getting to a toilet. Health care professionals often refer to urgency incontinence as overactive bladder, which can happen when certain nerves and bladder muscles aren’t working together”.8

In urinary incontinence: Urge Incontinence – About Urge Incontinence the Continence Foundation of Australia elaborate on:

“People who experience urge incontinence get a strong feeling to urinate (wee) even when the bladder isn’t full. This can occur in both men and women and involves a strong urge to urinate, often followed by loss of urine before reaching the toilet. If you experience urge incontinence you may also have the need pass urine more frequently”.9

3. Mixed Incontinence

What is mixed incontinence?

DotS the definition of urge incontinence may vary. The NHS’s definition is:

“Mixed incontinence is when you have symptoms of both stress and urge incontinence. For example, you may leak urine if you cough or sneeze, and also experience very intense urges to pass urine”.10

4. Functional Incontinence

What is functional incontinence?

DotS the definition of functional incontinence may vary. In Urinary Incontinence: Symptoms & Causes – Symptoms the Mayo Clinic’s definition is:

  • “Functional incontinence. A physical or mental impairment keeps you from making it to the toilet in time. For example, if you have severe arthritis, you may not be able to unbutton your pants quickly enough”.11

5. Overflow Incontinence

What is overflow incontinence?

DotS the definition of overflow incontinence can vary. The Mayo Clinic’s definition is:

  • “Overflow incontinence. You experience frequent or constant dribbling of urine due to a bladder that doesn’t empty completely”.12

6. Total Incontinence

What is total incontinence?

DotS the definition of total incontinence may vary. In Urinary Incontinence: Symptoms – Other Types of Urinary Incontinence: Total Incontinence the NHS’s definition is:

“Urinary incontinence that’s severe and continuous is sometimes known as total incontinence.

Total incontinence may cause you to constantly pass large amounts of urine, even at night. Or you may pass large amounts of urine only occasionally and leak smaller amounts in between”.13

Overactive Bladder

What is overactive bladder (OAB)?

In Urinary Incontinence – Symptoms: Overview – Symptoms: Common Types of Urinary Incontinence – Urge Incontinence the NHS note:

“As well as sometimes causing urge incontinence, overactive bladder syndrome can mean you need to pass urine very frequently, including several times during the night”.14

Cause

What may cause UI?

In Urinary Incontinence Overview the (United States) National Association for Continence (NAFC) note:

“Many people do not realize that there are many different types of urinary incontinence or reasons that you may cause you to leak urine”.15

In Bladder Incontinence: Causes of Incontinence [+ Diagram] the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) explain:

“The pelvic floor muscles – the ‘sling’ of muscles that supports the bladder, bowel and uterus – can stretch and weaken, leading to continence issues.

The following may also contribute to incontinence:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Being overweight
  • Chronic constipation that causes you to strain
  • Chronic coughing
  • Chronic back pain
  • Frequent lifting of heavy objects, including children and weights at the gym
  • Reduction in the hormone oestrogen after menopause
  • Some medications
  • Diabetes
  • Pelvic or abdominal surgery
  • Caffeinated drinks”.16

Aging

Is there an association between aging and UI?

In Urinary Incontinence: Symptoms & Causes – Overview the Mayo Clinic note:

“Though it occurs more often as people get older, urinary incontinence isn’t an inevitable consequence of aging. If urinary incontinence affects your daily activities, don’t hesitate to see your doctor. For most people, simple lifestyle and dietary changes or medical care can treat symptoms of urinary incontinence”.17

Menopause

Is there an association between menopause and UI?

In Menopause FAQs: Menopause Symptoms – Q. Does menopause cause urine leakage? the NAMS explain:

“No. Women and girls have urinary incontinence (involuntary leaking of urine) but it tends to increase with age. Other factors that have been associated with incontinence include diabetes, obesity, weight gain, depression, hysterectomy, family history, and use of hormone therapy. Some disorders of the pelvic floor (the muscles, ligaments, and connective tissue that support a woman’s internal organs) also may be responsible for the urinary leakage”.18

The JH note:

Urinary Incontinence

“Menopause can result in difficulty controlling the bladder. This can be caused by the loss of oestrogen, which can lead to a range of changes, including:

  • Weakness of the pelvic floor muscles
  • The bladder being less elastic
  • Thinning of the urethral and bladder lining, leading to urinary tract infections
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Loss of elasticity in the pelvic tissues leading to prolapse
  • Weight gain”.19

Sex

Can UI prove troubling with sex?

According to the NAMS:

“Sex is one area where urinary incontinence can prove troubling. Urinary leakage during intercourse is estimated to affect up to a quarter of women with incontinence. This can be embarrassing for women and lead them to avoid intercourse or to worry about leakage to the point that they are unable to relax and enjoy sex”.20

Prevention

Can UI be prevented?

In Urinary Incontinence: Overview – Preventing Urinary Incontinence the NHS elaborate on:

“It’s not always possible to prevent urinary incontinence, but there are some steps you can take that may help reduce the chance of it happening.

These include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding or cutting down on alcohol
  • Staying active – in particular, ensuring that your pelvic floor muscles are strong”.21

Treatment

What may UI treatment involve?

In Incontinence Conditions From A – Z the NAFC elaborate on:

“Most treatment involves a combination of medicine, behavioral modification, pelvic muscle exercises, collection devices, and absorbent products. Despite the high success rates in treating incontinence, only 1 out of every 12 people affected seeks help. Don’t be like those other 11 people. Incontinence is not normal, and should always be treated”.22

Products

Are products available to help manage UI?

Yes. In Your Product Guide: Products the NAFC explain:

“We’ve gathered as much up-to-date information on incontinence products as we could so you can become an informed consumer. As with many things in life, the more you know the better decisions you can make. Once you feel comfortable with a product designed to help manage your situation, give it a try. If it works well for you, great! If not, there are many options available, increasing the odds that you will find something that fits your lifestyle. You’ve come this far. Keep going. Your life is waiting for you!”23

Your Country may have a website similar to the international Continenceproductadvisor.org or the (United States) Continencecentral.org which may provide information about different types of continence management products or a Helpline.

Helpline

Do some Countries have a national Continence/Incontinence Helpline?

Yes. Your Country may have a Helpline similar to the Continence Foundation of Australia’s National Continence Helpline.

Toilet Maps, Cards or Apps

Do some Countries have toilet maps, cards or Apps?

Yes. Your Country may have a toilet map similar to Australia’s National Public Toilet Map which:

“The National Public Toilet Map provides information on over 19,000 facilities across Australia, including toilets, adult change and baby change. Where available, information on accessibility, opening hours and amenities, such as showers and sharps disposal are included”.24

Or your Country may have a card or App similar to the (United Kingdom) Bladder & Bowel Community’s (B&B) Free Just Can’t Wait Toilet Card.

Health Care Provider

What if I think I have UI?

If you think you have UI, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this. In Bladder Conditions and Symptoms the B&B note:

“The first and most important point to remember is that everyone with a bladder problem can be helped and many can be completely cured”.25

In Bladder Conditions and Symptoms the NAFC also encourage us to seek help and note:

“You’re not alone. More than 25 million people in the USA experience bladder leakage every day. The good news is, most cases of urinary incontinence are treatable or, at the very least, manageable. The first step is getting informed”.26

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Urinary Incontinence?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Urinary Incontinence?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Urinary Incontinence: Symptoms & Causes – Overview. 09 March 2021. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-incontinence/symptoms-causes/syc-20352808 Accessed: 06 June 2021
  2. Bladder Control Problems (Urinary Incontinence): Definition & Facts for Bladder Control Problems (Urinary Incontinence) – What Are Bladder Control Problems? June 2018. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-control-problems/definition-facts Accessed: 06 June 2021
  3. Urinary Incontinence: Symptoms & Causes – Overview. 13 April 2019. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-incontinence/symptoms-causes/syc-20352808 Accessed: 06 June 2021
  4. Urinary Incontinence: Overview – Who Gets Urinary Incontinence? Last Reviewed: 23 October 2020. Cleveland Clinic https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16998-female-incontinence Accessed: 06 June 2021
  5. Urinary Incontinence: Symptoms – Common Types of Urinary Incontinence. Page Last Reviewed: 07 November 2019. NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/urinary-incontinence/symptoms/#common-types-of-urinary-incontinence Accessed: 06 June 2021
  6. Bladder Control Problems (Urinary Incontinence): Definition & Facts for Bladder Control Problems (Urinary Incontinence) – What Are the Types of Bladder Control Problems? Stress Incontinence. June 2018. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-control-problems/definition-facts Accessed: 06 June 2021
  7. Urinary Incontinence In Women. Content Updated: May 2020. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/health-info/fact-sheets/urinary-incontinence-in-women Accessed: 06 June 2021
  8. Bladder Control Problems (Urinary Incontinence): Definition & Facts for Bladder Control Problems (Urinary Incontinence) – What Are the Types of Bladder Control Problems? Urgency Incontinence. June 2018. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-control-problems/definition-facts Accessed: 06 June 2021
  9. Urinary Incontinence: Urge Incontinence – About Urge Incontinence. Last Updated: 26 August 2020. Last Reviewed: 23 March 2020. Continence Foundation of Australia https://www.continence.org.au/types-incontinence/urinary-incontinence/urge-incontinence Accessed: 06 June 2021
  10. Urinary Incontinence: Symptoms – Other Types of Urinary Incontinence: Mixed Incontinence. Page Last Reviewed: 07 November 2019. NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/urinary-incontinence/symptoms/#other-types-of-urinary-incontinence Accessed: 06 June 2021
  11. Urinary Incontinence: Symptoms & Causes – Symptoms. 09 March 2021. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-incontinence/symptoms-causes/syc-20352808 Accessed: 06 June 2021
  12. Urinary Incontinence: Symptoms & Causes – Symptoms. 09 March 2021. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-incontinence/symptoms-causes/syc-20352808 Accessed: 06 June 2021
  13. Urinary Incontinence: Symptoms – Other Types of Urinary Incontinence: Total Incontinence. Page Last Reviewed: 24 October 2016. NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/urinary-incontinence/symptoms/#other-types-of-urinary-incontinence Accessed: 06 June 2021
  14. Urinary Incontinence: Symptoms – Common Types of Urinary Incontinence: Urge Incontinence. Page Last Reviewed: 07 November 2019. NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/urinary-incontinence/symptoms/#common-types-of-urinary-incontinence Accessed: 06 June 2021
  15. Urinary Incontinence Overview. National Association for Continence https://www.nafc.org/urinary-incontinence Accessed: 06 June 2021
  16. Bladder Incontinence: Causes of Incontinence. Last Updated: 23 November 2020 | Last Reviewed: 04 August 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/bladder-bowel/bladder-incontinence Accessed: 06 June 2021
  17. Urinary Incontinence: Symptoms & Causes – Overview. 09 March 2021. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-incontinence/symptoms-causes/syc-20352808 Accessed: 06 June 2021
  18. Menopause FAQS: Menopause Symptoms – Q. Does menopause cause urine leakage? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-menopause-symptoms Accessed: 06 June 2021
  19. Health After Menopause: Continence. Last Updated: 25 March 2021 | Last Reviewed: 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/health-after-menopause Accessed: 06 June 2021
  20. Sexual Health & Menopause Online: Causes of Sexual Problems – Urinary Incontinence. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/causes-of-sexual-problems/urinary-incontinence Accessed: 06 June 2021
  21. Urinary Incontinence: Overview – Preventing Urinary Incontinence. Page Last Reviewed: 07 November 2019. NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/urinary-incontinence/#preventing-urinary-incontinence Accessed: 06 June 2021
  22. Incontinence Conditions From A – Z. National Association for Continence https://www.nafc.org/conditions-overview/ Accessed: 06 June 2021
  23. Your Product Guide: Products. National Association for Continence https://www.nafc.org/products Accessed: 06 June 2021
  24. Welcome To the National Public Toilet Map. National Continence Program https://toiletmap.gov.au/ Accessed: 06 June 2021
  25. Bladder Conditions and Symptoms. Bladder & Bowel Community https://www.bladderandbowelfoundation.org/bladder/bladder-conditions-and-symptoms/ Accessed: 06 June 2021
  26. National Association for Continence. National Association for Continence https://www.nafc.org/home Accessed: 06 June 2021

Topic Last Updated: 16 June 2021 – Topic Last Reviewed: 06 June 2021
Print Friendly, PDF & Email