4 Types of Incontinence and How They’re Treated

4 Types of Incontinence and How They’re Treated

Having urinary incontinence means you can't hold your urine, right? That's true, but it doesn't tell the whole story. 

Women can experience various types of incontinence. And although the different kinds of incontinence share some common features, they are also somewhat different in their causes and symptoms.  

The first step toward finding relief for urinary incontinence is understanding what it is, why it’s happening, and what can be done to alleviate it.

No matter what kind of incontinence affects you, we can help. At Virtuosa GYN in San Antonio, Texas, Susan Crockett, MD, and her all-female team of caring providers specialize in educating patients about incontinence and creating customized treatment plans to relieve incontinence symptoms.

Read on to learn about four types of incontinence and how treatment can help them.

Types of incontinence

In a nutshell, incontinence is defined as the unintentional release of urine. It is also referred to as a loss of bladder control.

Stress incontinence

The most common type of urinary incontinence is stress incontinence. This is when stress or pressure on your bladder causes you to leak urine. Stress and pressure may occur when you laugh, sneeze, cough, move suddenly, or engage in physical activity.

Stress incontinence is more common among women with weak pelvic floor muscles. In many cases, strengthening those muscles with exercises such as Kegels can reduce stress incontinence.

It may also occur in women with prolapsed (dropped) pelvic organs that press on your bladder. Depending on the extent of your organ prolapse, you may benefit from surgery to repair the prolapse and reduce stress incontinence.

Urge incontinence

Also referred to as overactive bladder, urge incontinence is the second most common type of urine leakage. 

Women with urge incontinence may experience sudden urges to go to the bathroom. These urges may come on so quickly that you rush to the toilet to pee. But once you get there, you may release only a small amount of urine.

Women with urge incontinence may find themselves going to the bathroom as many as eight or more times a day.

Urge incontinence can often be improved with a process known as bladder training. This helps you learn to go to the bathroom less often and teaches your bladder to hold more before sending you a message that it's time to go.

Overflow incontinence

Overflow incontinence can occur when leakage is caused by a blockage in your bladder, such as a bladder stone or tumor. Overflow incontinence is fairly rare. Treatment focuses on removing the blockage. 

Mixed incontinence

If you have mixed incontinence, two or more types of incontinence are causing you to leak urine. When this occurs, you may require several treatment strategies to improve your symptoms.

A range of treatment options

To help you with your incontinence, we perform a full evaluation to determine what's causing your symptoms. Then we create a custom care plan that takes your symptoms and health history into account.

In addition to the treatments already mentioned, your personal care plan may include surgery, medication, or a vaginal pessary, which is a small device inserted into your vagina to support your pelvic floor muscles or prolapsed pelvic organs.

Incontinence is nothing to be ashamed of, and it's not something you just have to put up with. Treatment can make a difference for most women. To schedule an evaluation, contact us today at our San Antonio, Texas, office.

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