Urinary incontinence (UI) is the loss of urine control. You may not be able to hold your urine until you can reach a restroom. It may be a short-term problem caused by another health issue. Or it may be a long-term problem that you’ll have to manage. UI can range from a slight loss of urine to severe, frequent wetting.
Fear of wetting yourself can keep you from enjoying activities with your family and friends. Incontinence during sex can cause great stress.
UI is not a normal part of aging. But it is common in older people.
The following are some of the different types of UI:
- Urge incontinence. When the need to urinate comes on very quickly. Often, you may not be able to get to a restroom in time. It’s common in people who have certain conditions such as diabetes, stroke, dementia, Parkinson disease, and multiple sclerosis. It may be a sign that these other conditions that need attention. It’s more common in older adults and may be a sign of a urinary tract infection or an overactive bladder.
- Stress incontinence. The most common type of incontinence. It’s more common in women. You may leak urine during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting heavy objects. Or when doing other movements that put pressure on the bladder.
- Functional incontinence. When you have urine control, but can’t get to a restroom in time. This may be due to conditions that make it hard to move, such as arthritis.
- Overflow incontinence. The leakage of small amounts of urine caused by an over-filled bladder. It may feel like you can’t fully empty your bladder.
- Mixed incontinence. A mix of more than one of the types listed above.
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