Urinary Incontinence (UI)
Urinary Incontinence means the involuntary or uncontrollable loss of urine. In other words, something you can’t control.
There are several types of urinary incontinence, each with a different cause and each very distressing.
The main types of urinary incontinence are:
- Stress urinary incontinence (SUI)
- Urge Urinary Incontinence (UUI)
- Mixed Urinary Incontinence (MUI)
- Overflow Urinary Incontinence
- Functional Urinary Incontinence
Mixed Urinary Incontinence (MUI)
This is a combination of SUI and UUI and is the most common form. Many women in particular who have SUI will often report a degree of Urgency if not UUI. It is less common to just experience UUI but very common to experience urgency without leakage.
It is also common to report frequency of urination. Very often this is habitual in an attempt to keep the bladder empty to try to avoid SUI or UUI , but unfortunately it becomes a vicious cycle. This is discussed in more detail on the page Urge Incontinence.
Overflow Urinary Incontinence
This is when the bladder becomes overfull and urine leaks out without you feeling the need to go.
It can be due to chronic urinary retention, or slow flow without fully emptying so urine collects in the bladder and if you have no sense of being full, the bladder can become overfull and some urine can leak out. This requires medical intervention and possible catheterisation. Some people need to continue intermittent self -catheterisation (ISC) and some can be taught to empty the bladder on a regular schedule. This is very dependent on individual assessment.
Overflow is common in many neurological conditions and bladder health should always be a priority in these cases to avoid further damage.
See your doctor if you are having any problems with emptying your bladder.
Functional Urinary Incontinence
This occurs when someone is aware of the need to urinate but has difficulty making it to the toilet in time. You may have reasonable control over your bladder but for various reasons may not make it in time. This can be due to:
- poor mobility, difficulty getting out of the chair
- the need to use mobility aides slowing the trip to the toilet
- toilet being too far away or difficult to find
- cognitive problems
- not being able to find the toilet
- difficulty in removing clothes
Some conditions that may contribute can be dementia, arthritis, blindness , intellectual disabillty, cerebral palsy, Parkinsons disease.
Other Bladder Conditions
See our section on other bladder conditions to learn more about problems like Bladder Pain Syndrome, UTI's, Fowlers Syndrome etc
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