Incontinence can happen at any age, but it’s increasingly more common as we age. In fact, the Urology Care Foundation reports that half of all women older than 65 experience at least occasional bladder leakage. Causes range from childbirth and constipation to serious conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Surgery is always a possibility, but there are a variety of treatment methods that depend on the type of incontinence you or a loved one might be suffering. Bannister Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing has a look at six different types of urinary incontinence.

  1. Urge Incontinence

This is the most common form and is commonly known as an overactive bladder. This is when you have a sudden need to go and lose some urine before you get to the toilet.

  1. Total Incontinence

This is diagnosed when the sphincter muscle stops working, resulting in constant and uncontrollable leaking.

  1. Stress Incontinence

This is most common in women who have given birth, but it’s also found in men who have had prostate cancer or surgery for it. This is when you urinate a little when sneezing, coughing, laughing, or lifting heavy objects.

  1. Overflow Incontinence

This happens because the bladder never fully empties. This may cause people to feel the need to go often and only go a little bit at a time. It’s generally caused by a weak bladder or an obstruction in the urinary tract system.

  1. Functional Incontinence

This is where there is technically nothing wrong with the urinary system, and the incontinence is caused by another ailment. It can be due to Alzheimer’s or other neurological conditions like a stroke, or arthritis could be the cause—this would be the case to where the person would get to the bathroom on time but wouldn’t be able to unzip their pants quickly enough.

  1. Mixed Incontinence

This is a combination of more than one type of incontinence listed above. Common types are stress and urge incontinence in women and urge and functional incontinence in those with Parkinson’s or stroke victims.


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