Bladder Disorders Stress Incontinence Types

Of all the bladder control problems, stress incontinence is by far the most common. It accounts for sixty percent of all urinary incontinence cases. Stress incontinence occurs when the pelvic floor muscles weaken, allowing the bladder to push against the urethra. Damaged urinary sphincters can also cause stress incontinence.

Urine emission occurs when the abdominal muscles push down on the lowered bladder. A slight loss of urine is likely to accompany everyday activities and events, such as laughing, coughing, sneezing, exercising, or lifting things such as little grandchildren.

Urge Incontinence

This condition is characterized by a strong desire to urinate, followed by involuntary contractions of the bladder. Because the bladder actually contracts, urine is released quickly, making it impossible for urge incontinence sufferers to predict when the problem will occur. Urge incontinence can be caused by infections, sphincter disorders or nervous system disorders that affect the bladder. Blockages caused by bladder stones can also responsible for urge incontinence.

Mixed Incontinence

Mixed incontinence simply means that the patient suffers from a combination of bladder control disorders. The most common combination of disorders is stress incontinence and urge incontinence. Treatment generally focuses on management of the most bothersome symptoms.

Overflow Incontinence

The bladder fills, but doesn ‘t signal this to those with overflow incontinence. Once full, the bladder overflows and leaks small amounts of urine on an almost continuous basis. Men with enlarged prostates are often at risk for overflow incontinence. This condition is rarely seen in women. Medical conditions that increase the risk of overflow incontinence include diabetes, pelvic trauma or surgery, spinal cord injury, or neurologic disorders.

Nocturnal Enuresis

Nocturnal enuresis is the medical term for bedwetting, a bladder control problem that affects thousands of children yearly. Although most children who suffer from nocturnal enuresis grow out of the problem as their bodies mature, bedwetting can remain a problem for some children well into their teenage years.

Environmental Incontinence

Environmental incontinence does not indicate a physical problem with the bladder or the urinary tract. However, external restrictions such as physical disabilities or mobility issues may prevent the patient from reaching the toilet on time. People with arthritis in their fingers may have difficulty controlling their bladder while struggling to open buttons or zippers.

Transient Incontinence

Transient incontinence refers to temporary episodes of incontinence. Causes of transient incontinence might include medication side effects, infections of the bladder or urinary tract, or even severe constipation. The use of diuretics, excess consumption of alcohol or caffeine, or high fluid intake can all cause transient incontinence.


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National Association for Continence (NAFC). (nd). The four basic types of incontinence. Retrieved April 19, 2004, from