Types of Bladder Control Problems

There are several types of female urinary incontinence that make it easy to categorize a woman’s bladder control symptoms, and it is not uncommon for women to have symptoms in more than one category.

  • Stress incontinence
    Physical stress incurred from activities like coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising, or exerting pressure on the lap induces urine leakage.
  • Urge incontinence
    Individuals experience a sudden urge to urinate without prior warning and cannot hold back all of their urine before they are ready to urinate. Women with urge incontinence often report leaking urine on the way to the restroom.
  • Mixed
    When there are multiple factors contributing to one’s symptoms of urinary incontinence, individuals are said to have “mixed incontinence.” It is very common for women to have some combination of factors causing their symptoms.
  • Overflow incontinence
    More common in men than in women, this type of urinary incontinence occurs when the amount of fluid in the bladder exceeds maximum capacity. This occurs when the bladder cannot fully empty during urination because of some sort of obstruction.
  • Functional incontinence
    When a personal handicap hinders one’s ability to rapidly respond to an urge to urinate, the individual is said to have “functional incontinence.” People with functional incontinence might have a perfectly healthy pelvic floor and still have trouble making it to the restroom in time due to disabilities like arthritis or a broken leg.
  • Fistula
    This relatively uncommon cause of incontinence results from a problem with the connection between the vagina and the urinary tract. Trauma, radiation, infection, and surgical complications can result in fistula incontinence.
  • Diverticulum
    When a pouch forms in the urethra, urine can gather there and not fully void the pouch after urination. The remaining urine then cannot be retained by the body and can dribble out at inconvenient times.


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