What Kinds of Incontinence Affect Women?

Most of us associate incontinence with just the inability of the bladder to hold on to urine but actually incontinence falls into several categories.

Stress Incontinence
This type of loss of bladder control is from sudden movements that can put pressure on your bladder. Some of the movements are giggling, a sudden sneeze or cough or even lifting or moving something. Usually stress incontinence will occur from physical changes in the body related to pregnancy, childbirth or menopause.

The muscles that allow you to start and stop the flow of urine can become weak and can no longer contract effectively enough to control the flow of urine during times of physical stress. And, urine can leak at inappropriate times.

Fortunately, this most common type of incontinence is treatable usually with kegel exercises and incontinence products that can make your exercises more effective.

Urge Incontinence
When you experience a loss of bladder control for no reason along with the sudden feeling that you need to urinate, this problem may be urge incontinence. Sometimes this stems from contractions of the bladder at times other than when it is time to urinate. Urge incontinence is sometimes called overactive bladder or spastic bladder because the contractions can occur at unpredictable times. Your bladder may contract and force out urine while you are asleep or when you hear or see running water.

Sometimes these involuntary contracts are due to nerve damage. Some diseases and possible injury during surgery can affect the nerves or muscles of the bladder.

Functional Incontinence
This type of bladder problem is associated with people who have cognitive problems or physical disabilities that prevent them from realizing they need to go to the bathroom or prevent them from getting to a bathroom without help. This condition is often found in elderly people who are confined to nursing homes.

Overflow Incontinence
When you have a full bladder and it frequently leaks urine there may be weak muscles or a blocked urethra. This type of bladder problem is found more often in men than women.

Mixed Incontinence
Sometimes women can have both urge and stress incontinence at the same time.