What Are the Different Types of Incontinence (and Why It's Important to Know)?

What Are the Different Types of Incontinence (and Why It's Important to Know)?

Urinary incontinence isn’t exactly a common topic of conversation, so you may be surprised to learn that more than 25 million adults in the United States have temporary or chronic urinary control issues, with women outpacing men 2 to 1.

At Advanced Endometriosis Center, women’s health expert Dr. Ulas Bozdogan wants to make one point clear: Urinary incontinence isn’t a condition that you should just buck up and suffer through. 

Instead, we believe in finding solutions for urinary incontinence, which starts with understanding which type is affecting you.

The most common types of urinary incontinence in women

The fairer sex tends to develop urinary incontinence more often than men due to reproductive issues. For example, pregnancy often brings on temporary incontinence thanks to the pressure of a growing fetus on a woman’s bladder. 

Or, women who pass through menopause can experience pelvic organ prolapse, which can lead to incontinence. This is a big reason why more than 4 out of 10 women over age 65 have some degree of incontinence.

There are three main types of urinary incontinence that affect women:

1. Stress incontinence

This is a condition in which pressure on your bladder, such as coughing, sneezing, or lifting heavy objects, can lead to leakage. Stress incontinence often stems from a weak pelvic floor, abdominal pressure, pregnancy, or pelvic organ prolapse.

2. Urgency incontinence

This is a condition in which you have very strong urges to urinate that are hard to control. These urges can come soon after urinating, which means they have little to do with how full your bladder is. Also called overactive bladder, this form of incontinence can be caused by an infection, such as a urinary tract infection, abdominal surgery, or for reasons unknown.

3. Mixed incontinence

As the name suggests, this is a form of incontinence that combines stress and urgency incontinence.

There are other types of incontinence, such as functional incontinence (you can’t physically reach the bathroom when you need to), but stress and urgency are, far and away, the most common types.

There are solutions for incontinence

Understanding which type of incontinence you’ve developed is key to getting to the other side of the problem.

For example, if we find that poor pelvic floor support is causing stress incontinence as your bladder shifts downward, we address the underlying support problem. We start out conservatively with pelvic floor exercises, but if you can’t regain support for your bladder, we can go in surgically and repair your pelvic floor to provide more support for your bladder.

Or, if you have an overactive bladder, we can approach the problem from other angles, such as through bladder training. We may also use medications or Botox® injections to calm your bladder. 

As you can see, the approaches are very different for stress and urgency incontinence, so your first step is to come see us for an evaluation. Once we figure out the type of incontinence and what’s likely causing it, we can come up with a treatment plan that suits your unique situation.

To get started, book an appointment online or over the phone with Advanced Endometriosis Center today. We have offices in New York City and Hackensack, New Jersey.

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