Different Types of Urinary Incontinence and How To Manage Them
When we think of urinary incontinence, we often think of urinary incontinence in women. In women, it is common for many reasons, like menopause, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and pregnancy.
While urinary incontinence isn’t talked about in men nearly as often, it is a common condition that can affect men’s confidence and comfort, especially as they age. MDP (Male Drip Protection) is here to say you’re not alone.
We’re dedicated to providing men with the essential information to better understand and manage issues with urinary continence. We also have the products you need to feel protected all day long.
There are six different types of urinary incontinence, with some overlap. Here is a closer look at the most common types and causes of incontinence and the best methods for managing them.
Can Stress Cause Urinary Incontinence?
Stress urinary incontinence is characterized by excess pressure on the bladder that causes urine leakage. If you experience leaks when sneezing, coughing, or exercising, that is often an indication of stress incontinence.
Most of the time, you won’t feel a strong urge to urinate, and likely only a little bit of urine will be produced. Over time, this may affect the bladder muscles and the bladder’s ability to hold urine, causing leaking and dribbling.
There are two types of stress incontinence, urethral hypermobility and intrinsic sphincter deficiency. With the former, the urethra lacks the support it needs to stay closed, which causes leakage. In the second, the urinary sphincter struggles to open and close properly, which means it opens under pressure, like that caused by sneezing or exercise.
For now, there are no recommended medications for stress incontinence. The best way to manage the effects of stress incontinence is to make lifestyle changes, like losing weight and properly managing conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Pair these lifestyle changes with bladder training and Kegel exercises, or pelvic floor exercises, to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
Another common type of incontinence is urge incontinence, often referred to as an overactive bladder. Urge incontinence causes a sudden need to urinate, one that comes on without warning and may lead to leakage and loss of bladder function before reaching the bathroom.
Essentially, the bladder muscle, known as the detrusor, sends signals of fullness to the brain, even when the bladder isn’t full. This may be referred to as detrusor overactivity. Some of the most common reasons for urge incontinence are neurological, chronic conditions or acute infections, or related to aging.
In addition to behavioral treatments for urge incontinence, your healthcare professional may recommend certain medications, electrical stimulation in the form of a low-grade current, Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS), which helps to change the signals going to the brain, and Botox bladder injections.
What Is Overflow Incontinence?
Overflow incontinence limits urine flow and means your bladder never empties fully. This can lead to leakage from overflow, hence the name, and can occur when something either blocks the bladder from flowing freely or when the bladder becomes underactive and doesn’t properly signal when full.
Because the most common reason for experiencing overflow incontinence is due to blockage, one of the most recommended treatments for this type is surgery. This is especially true for conditions like an enlarged prostate.
Surgery can help shrink an enlarged prostate or otherwise remove any blockage to increase the flow capability and allow for voiding.
What Is Functional Incontinence?
Functional incontinence means that your bladder is working properly and that no physical conditions prevent the proper flow of urine. With this condition, other hindrances are preventing you from getting to the bathroom in time to urinate.
These may be physical challenges, like swelling from arthritis or difficulty moving quickly from age or disability. When managing functional incontinence, the focus is on clearing the path and reducing risk factors.
That may mean changing over clothing, from buttons to snaps, installing mobility aids in the home, like walkers and handles, and making sure there are no obstacles in the way of the bathroom.
What Is Mixed Incontinence?
As the name would indicate, mixed incontinence is a type of crossover incontinence characterized by the symptoms of more than one of the specific conditions. Most often, mixed incontinence overlaps stress incontinence and the side effects of urge incontinence, an overactive bladder.
This can be especially challenging to manage because stressors, like sneezing and coughing, can trigger more urine leakage when combined with an overactive bladder. Mixed incontinence is more common in men who have undergone surgery for either prostate removal or the shrinkage of an enlarged prostate.
It’s also commonly found in older individuals and is often related to the effects of aging. Because mixed incontinence is a combination of two different types of incontinence, individual treatment options will vary. You’ll want to consult your urologist to ensure you’re creating a treatment plan that best works for your needs.
That will include behavioral therapies, like bladder training and pelvic muscle exercises, that are used to treat both different types of incontinence, as well as some of the more aggressive treatment management solutions, including medication, Botox injections, and nerve stimulation.
The symptoms of these two different types of incontinence may vary and evolve, so it’s particularly effective to keep a bladder diary when managing the effects of mixed incontinence. This will let you know what’s working best and what treatment methods to upgrade or change for improved relief from incontinence symptoms.
What Is Reflex Incontinence?
Reflex incontinence is most common in individuals with extreme neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, or spinal cord injury. It causes a sudden contraction of the bladder muscles, which makes for sudden leaks, often of a larger amount of urine than with other types of incontinence. Typically, this is because the nerves that signal to the brain that the bladder is full have been damaged.
To manage or treat reflex incontinence, your urology expert needs to get to the root cause of the reflex. Depending on why an individual is experiencing reflex incontinence, treatment recommendations may include medical devices and incontinence products for managing the emergency loss of bladder control and behavioral therapy.
In more extreme circumstances, medications and surgeries may be recommended based on your medical history.
Here at Male Drip Protection, we’re dedicated to providing the information, products, and support you need to manage the effects of urinary incontinence, so you can feel comfortable and confident all day long. There are six different types of incontinence, and understanding how they function, what their risk factors are, and what the best management techniques are for each, can help you get relief from urinary incontinence's effects.
And when it comes to treatment and management, you may find that the most effective plan is actually a combination of a couple of different types of treatments and methods, including medications, behavioral therapies like bladder control and bladder training, diet changes to reduce constipation and mitigate triggers, surgeries for shrinking the prostate, and more.
Male Drip Protection is here to help you on every step of the journey. We have incontinence products that will protect you against sudden leakage and help you to manage the effects of incontinence while practicing your therapies and trying out medication options.
And it all starts with our absorbent sleeve, which has a two-strap design, so it stays in place no matter what your day might hold. Get the relief you deserve from incontinence with the support of Male Drip Protection today.
Types of urinary incontinence - Harvard Health
Urge Incontinence: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment | Cleveland Clinic
Parkinson’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments | National Institute on Aging.