There are three main types of urinary incontinence:
- Stress incontinence: A bladder control problem that causes a leaking of urine during activities that “stress” the bladder (laughing, coughing, sneezing, heaving lifting, etc.)
- Urge Incontinence: Another bladder control problem that is a loss of urine after a sudden, strong urge to urinate. You may hear this called overactive bladder on medication commercials.
- Mixed Incontinence: symptoms of both urge and stress incontinence.
Health Effects and Quality of Life
There are several health effects of urinary incontinence, as well as ways it can effect your quality of life including:
- Skin moisture and irritation, leading to redness and eventually skin breakdown
- Sleep interruption / deprivation
- Avoidance of physical activity
- Embarrassment from wetness and odor
- Social withdrawal
Disabling Conditions and Incontinence
There are several neurologic conditions that cause incontinence. Many of these condition cause neurogenic bladder. These conditions include:
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Spina Bifida
- Transverse Myelitis
Bladder problems, including incontinence, spasticity, and frequent urinary tract infections, have also been reported by women with neuromuscular disorders, cerebral palsy, post polio, and other disabling conditions. These problems may be related to years of retaining urine for extended periods due to lack of attendant services, general muscular weakness or spasticity, or premature aging. There is a critical need for more research to document these problems and explore possible solutions.
Secondary Condition and Urinary Incontinence
Some secondary conditions may also cause incontinence and are listed below.
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
On our Types of Pelvic Floor Disorders page, we list bladder control problems and urinary incontinence as pelvic floor disorders. And it's true! Urinary incontinence can be as a result of a disability or a pelvic floor disorder caused by the weakening of the pelvic floor from age, childbirth, etc. This is where it can become difficult for doctors and patients both to determine if they really have a pelvic floor disorder. And that is where our research comes in!
For more on bladder health.