Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leaking of urine.
Types of urinary incontinence include:
- Stress incontinence – Urine leaks when coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising or lifting something heavy.
- Urge incontinence – sudden urge to urinate followed by leaking of urine.
- Overflow incontinence – frequent or constant leaking of urine because the bladder cannot empty completely, and there is too much left-over urine in the bladder that it overflows out.
- Functional incontinence – leaking occurs due to a handicap, and not due to a bladder problem, and you cannot reach the toilet in time.
- Total / sphincteric incontinence – due to damage of the controlling sphincter which usually controls the bladder. Here the urine continues to leak throughout the day.
- Mixed incontinence – combination of the different types of incontinence
Evaluation and diagnosis:
Evaluation is through the history and physical examination done by your doctor. Usually it may be necessary to conduct a urodynamic study to determine the type of incontinence so that the proper treatment may be given.
The treatment of urinary incontinence depends on the type of the incontinence and its cause.
It is best to meet and discuss this with your doctor.
When to see the doctor:
You may feel uncomfortable to discuss incontinence with your doctor. But if the incontinence is frequent, bothersome or is affecting your quality of life, it’s important to seek medical advice because urinary incontinence may be caused due to a more serious underlying condition, can restrict your activities and limit your social interactions, can be embarrassing while interacting with your family members and friends, and increases the risk of falls in older adults as they rush to the toilet to pass urine.