Types of Urinary Incontinence
As part of our Pelvic Health Program in Edmonton and St. Albert, we believe that a large part of our role is educating the public.
Did you know that more than 3.3 million Canadians are dealing with incontinence and yet there remains a stigma and embarrassment around the subject? Sadly, this inhibits people from seeking out today’s available expertise and treatment. As part of our Pelvic Health Program in Edmonton and St. Albert, we believe that the more we educate and create a conversation in this important area of health, the more we can make a real difference in the quality of life of people living with incontinence.
Urinary incontinence can affect women, men and children. It involves involuntary leaking of urine in any amount, at anytime. It can negatively impact our quality of life, self-esteem, emotional status, physical activity and social life. But the good news is that it can be treated! Since urinary incontinence can come in different forms, let’s discuss the most common types
1. Acute Incontinence
This type of incontinence comes on suddenly and is usually caused by a new illness or condition.
2. Chronic Incontinence
This type develops rather gradually over a period of time or remains after after a illness or condition has been treated.
a. Stress Incontinence
This type of incontinence is defined as an involuntary loss of urine associated with a rise in intra-abdominal (inside the abdomen) pressure. This “pressure increase” occurs with activities like coughing, sneezing, laughing, jumping and running.
b. Urge Incontinence
Do you often have to race to the bathroom? Sometimes you make it in time but others you don’t? This is urge incontinence. Urge incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine associated with a strong uncontrollable need to void. If you experience this same uncontrollable urge to empty your bladder but don’t have any leaking, this is called urgency.
- Sensory Urgency: a severe urge to void at low bladder volumes – there is typically no leak but severe frequency and urgency. A person feels the need to go frequently or urgently but can usually still “hold it.”
- Motor Urgency: uninhibited detrusor (bladder) contraction (unable to “hold it”) in a person who develops urgency and there is leakage with these contractions.
- Overactive Bladder: Unstable detrusor (bladder) contractions lead to sudden unexpected urge to void (“go”) in a sensory and motor combined manner. Typically, a person will go to the washroom more than 8 times in a 24 hour period and more than 2 times at night. (Normal is to go 1 time in a 4 hour period)
c. Overflow Incontinence
In this situation, the bladder doesn’t empty normally and becomes very full and distended. There is constant loss of a small volume or urine (like a dribble) and the bladder may never feel completely relieved.
d. Mixed Incontinence
Mixed incontinence is a combination of both urine leakage with increases in intra-abdominal pressure AND with an intense urge to void. This form of incontinence is the most common.
Can Something Be Done?
Whether you experience stress, urge incontinence or both, know that there are several treatment options available to you. In the treatment of incontinence, research has shown that pelvic floor muscle re-training should be the first-line treatment for both stress and urge incontinence. Pelvic floor muscle retraining includes strengthening muscles that are weak, but also learning how to relax pelvic floor muscles that are too tight. In addition to this, learning about how your bladder and bowel habits feed into your incontinence is important. This includes learning tips like how going to the bathroom “just in case” or before you leave the house out of habit can increase concerns including urgency.
If this is you?
Our Pelvic Health program offers today’s innovations, technology, training and caring experts who will work with you to deal with incontinence in an amazing environment. Check out our pelvic health program or contact us today!
Life shouldn’t be Incontinent… Don’t get embarrassed when you can get treated.
In Health, Grant Fedoruk
Disclaimer: no information on this page is meant to replace or appear to provide care that is best provided by medical professionals.