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What are the Different Types of Incontinence?

Posted by Blooms The Chemist on 14 Aug 2020

What are the Different Types of Incontinence?


The issue of incontinence shouldn’t be one of embarrassment and shame. With over 5 million Australians experiencing bladder or bowel control problems, it’s more common than you think and you’re certainly not alone. [1] If you do suffer from urinary or faecal incontinence and you’re unsure of which type you may experience, we’ve listed a guide below that helps to explain each one.

What is Urge Incontinence?

Urge incontinence or overactive bladder syndrome deals with the urge to urinate even when the bladder isn’t full, this can lead to involuntary loss of urine before reaching the toilet. This type is common in both men and women and can occur more as you age. Symptoms may include waking up multiple times in the middle of the night with the urge to urinate, having to urinate more than eight times a day and feeling as if you won’t make it to the toilet when you need to urinate. Urge incontinence can be caused by certain health conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and the occurrence of an enlarged prostate gland. Urinary tract infections may also cause temporary urge incontinence, but this often clears up as the infection goes away.

What is Stress Incontinence?

Stress incontinence can occur when activities are undertaken that add pressure onto the bladder causing urine leakage. It can happen due to a range of physical activities including laughing, coughing, sneezing, or walking. Stress incontinence mainly affects women due to the impacts of pregnancy and childbirth, but men can also develop it after having prostate surgery. After childbirth many women find that their pelvic floor muscles have become weakened, and as they undertake certain activities, they are more inclined to experience stress incontinence as pressure is put on the bladder causing leaking urine.

What is Overflow Incontinence?

Overflow incontinence affects more men than women and occurs when you have difficulties completely emptying your bladder. This can result in overflow, where your bladder will leak without any notice. It can occur when you have no urge to urinate as the brain has no idea that the bladder is full. Symptoms can include a sudden release of urine, feeling as if it’s hard to urinate even though you feel as if you need to go and bed wetting. Overflow incontinence can happen due to a blockage in the urinary tract and certain health conditions where the nerves can be affected such as diabetes or Parkinson’s. Men are more commonly diagnosed with this type of incontinence as one of the most common symptoms of overflow incontinence is an enlarged prostate gland.

What is Functional Incontinence?

Functional incontinence occurs when a person’s urinary system and bladder control is functioning correctly, but they are unable to access a toilet. This can be due to an intellectual or physical condition, caused by a range of reasons such as not being unable to recognise the need to go to the toilet or unable to locate or access a toilet. Functional incontinence is also known as disability associated urinary incontinence. Conditions such as dementia, cerebral palsy and arthritis can become barriers for someone to access a toilet.

What is Mixed Incontinence?

Mixed incontinence can occur due to a combination of issues, most commonly associated with the symptoms of stress incontinence and urge incontinence. You may experience more of one type over the other, but if both types are present then you may have mixed incontinence.

What is Reflex Incontinence?

Reflex incontinence is related to a disruption in signals from the brain to the spinal cord, often due to surgical trauma or a spinal cord injury. The bladder muscle can dysfunction and cause leakage, often without the urge to urinate or without the feeling of a full bladder.

What is Enuresis Incontinence?

Enuresis incontinence is most commonly known as bed wetting and occurs mainly in young children. It is still possible for adults to experience bed wetting due to a range of reasons such as a smaller than usual bladder, excessive alcohol, a urinary tract infection or medication.

What is Faecal Incontinence?

Faecal incontinence can be described as leakage from the bowel due to involuntary bowel movements. It can be caused by a range of reasons including bowel disease, long term straining and weak back passage muscles.

If you are experiencing incontinence, Molicare have a vast range of products that are highly absorbent and provide a comfortable fit. With a range of different styles, sizes and absorbency levels – there’s a perfect fit for all incontinence needs. Their curly fibre technology also helps to maintain healthy pH levels and reduce the risk of skin irritation. Molicare has a vast range of incontinence products including adult incontinence pads and incontinence pants for men with their Molicare premium range, Molicare pads and Molicare mobile range. They also have a wide range of incontinence pads for men and incontinence pads for women.

It is important to seek medical advice and talk to your doctor or a continence professional about your symptoms. Visit your local Blooms The Chemist Pharmacy team for more information and recommendations on the best products for you. Click here for our range of products.


[1] Key Statistics. https://www.continence.org.au/about-us/our-work/key-statistics

Urinary Incontinence. Faecal Incontinence. https://www.continence.org.au/