6 Kinds of Urinary Incontinence

Healthy Aging, Healthy Living, Overactive Bladder/Incontinence, Women's Health
on June 9, 2011


What are the types of UI?

  • Stress incontinence— Leakage happens with coughing, sneezing, exercising, laughing, lifting heavy things, and other movements that put pressure on the bladder. This is the most common type of incontinence in women. It is often caused by physical changes from pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause. It can be treated and sometimes cured.
  • Urge incontinence—This is sometimes called "overactive bladder." Leakage usually happens after a strong, sudden urge to urinate. This may occur when you don't expect it, such as during sleep, after drinking water, or when you hear or touch running water.
  • Functional incontinence— People with this type of incontinence may have problems thinking, moving, or speaking that keep them from reaching a toilet. For example, a person with Alzheimer's disease may not plan a trip to the bathroom in time to urinate. A person in a wheelchair may be unable to get to a toilet in time.
  • Overflow incontinence— Urine leakage happens because the bladder doesn't empty completely. Overflow incontinence is less common in women.
  • Mixed incontinence—This is 2 or more types of incontinence together (usually stress and urge incontinence).
  • Transient incontinence— Urine leakage happens for a short time due to an illness (such as a bladder infection or pregnancy). The leaking stops when the illness is treated.